Edtech unicorn Unacademy has fired additional 10% or around 350 of its employees as the wave of layoffs brought on by a funding freeze for Indian startups continues.
The decision was taken due to the “harsh economic conditions”, Gaurav Munjal, chief executive officer of Unacademy, said in an internal email to employees.
“These are very difficult times for the technology ecosystem. And things are getting worse with each passing day. Even though we realised this much earlier and took some stringent measures such as reducing our monthly burns, controlling our operational spends, limiting our marketing budgets, and identifying other redundancies within the organisation, it was not enough. We need to keep optimising and building efficient systems for leaner and unprecedented times,” he wrote.
He said the layoffs would affect around 10% of Unacademy employees across verticals “where we have to take a difficult decision either to scale down or shut.”
The firings continue to be a stark reminder of the funding winter that has hit the Indian startup ecosystem. FrontRow, Byju’s, and Vedantu have laid off staff over the past year as cost-cutting measures have become commonplace.
Munjal’s decision to go ahead with additional layoffs comes even as he committed to no firings as he decided to cut down on expenditures in July earlier this year. “I want to apologise to everyone sincerely since we made a commitment of no layoffs in the organisation but the market challenges have forced us to reevaluate our decisions. Funding has significantly slowed down, and a large portion of our core business has moved offline,” he said.
With the current rounds of layoffs, the edtech major has now laid off close to 1,000 employees this year. In April this year, the startup fired around 600 employees across domains, citing “redundancy and performance”.
In the July memo, Munjal said even though the company has Rs 2,800 crore in the bank, “we are not efficient at all”. “We spend crores on travel for employees and educators. Sometimes it is needed, sometimes it is not. There are a lot of unnecessary expenses that we do. We must cut all these expenses. We have a strong core business. We must turn profitable asap.”