Six-year-old Bounce had last raised $96.8 million in its Series D round in January this year and competes with Vogo, Onn Bikes, and other two-wheeler rental startups.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s venture fund B Capital-backed scooter rental startup Bounce has laid off around 22 per cent (about 130 employees) of its total workforce due to Covid impact. In a letter to the employees on Monday, Bounce co-founder and CEO Vivekananda Hallekere said that the “incredibly difficult decision” was taken due to the “change in our business priorities.” “Unfortunately, the way the external environment has continued to shift means our medium-term workforce needs have changed as several new business lines, products, and projects we had planned will have to either transform or be put on hold in the coming quarters,” he said. Six-year-old Bounce had last raised $96.8 million in its Series D round in January this year and competes with Vogo, Onn Bikes, and other two-wheeler rental startups.
The company, however, is reinstating the salary of the affected employees to the amount before it announced salary cuts in April this year. Also, employees leaving the company will be given a three-month salary as severance pay along with health insurance and outplacement support. The company will also award ESOPs on a pro-rata basis to those who are part of the stock plan. “Do forgive us for what we have to do to keep the Company and vision going,” Hallekere said in the letter published on the company’s blog post.
The nationwide lockdown had brought services of online ride-hailing players such as Ola and Uber and others in the self-drive segment to a standstill leading to their revenue impact. The recovery in the sector is also likely to take more time than expected as people prefer to limit their work and leisure related trips amid rising cases of Coronavirus in India. Instead, the purchase of personal vehicles may see an uptick amid hygiene concerns customers may have in using the shared mobility services.
While Bounce has still been an emerging startup, India’s top startups have already laid off thousands of employees to reduce costs and narrow down operations focusing on core businesses only. For instance, Ola had announced laying off 1,400 employees, Uber India laid off 600 people, Swiggy and Zomato had asked 1,100 and around 500 employees respectively to leave. Others including OYO, MakeMyTrip, CureFit, BookMyShow, Livspace, CarDekho and more have laid-off employees.