The festive season hasn’t brought in much cheer for the employees of India’s unicorns.
After reports emerged that Oyo Rooms was going to fire 2000 people by next month, and Ola Cabs had fired 350 employees in November, Quikr has become the latest Indian unicorn to lay off employees in large numbers. Quikr has laid off 2000 employees from across its cars and bikes, jobs, Quikr Realty and Quikr homes verticals. Additionally, Quikr has discontinued its “AtHomeDiva” beauty vertical.
“Due to our cross-category model, we get a good view of comparative economics of various categories we operate in. Based on this, we recently decided to tweak the operating model in some of our categories, including a change in related market offerings. These changes have resulted in some workforce rationalisation at our end & discontinuation of AtHomeDiva services,” Quikr said in a statement. The layoffs has reportedly caused the strength of the Bangalore team to go down from 2700 to 1500, while the Pune team has been cut from 170 employees to just 32. Layoffs were reported in the Delhi and Mumbai offices as well.
There also appears to be some additional trouble brewing at Quikr, and it’s unclear if the layoffs are related to it. Three Quikr employees have reportedly defrauded their own company by forging businesses transactions to fictitious clients and earning millions in the process. The scam led to a Rs. 20 crore loss for Quikr. Quikr, for its part, has sought to downplay the incident. “Certain anomalies have come to our notice in our paying guest transaction business involving employees and we are working with external parties for legal action against all the parties involved. We may not be able to disclose more information as it may hamper the investigation,” Quikr said.
Quikr isn’t the only Indian unicorn that’s laid off workers. Oyo Rooms and Ola have also laid off workers in large numbers in a bid to cut costs, and with Quikr joining the fray, it appears that investors in Indian startups have had enough of the sustained losses that most companies have been making. Softbank, which is the biggest investor in Oyo and Ola, has already burned its hands with the WeWork IPO debacle, and has reportedly instructed its portfolio companies to become profitable, with Chairman Masayoshi Son saying that public markets won’t tolerate gimmicks that private investors are okay with. It appears that Indian startups have taken his advice to heart — across the board, large billion-dollar companies are cutting costs so that they can finally start making some money.