Google, Microsoft-backed VerSe Innovation cuts 5% of workforce, reduces salaries

India’s VerSe Innovation — the $5 billion Indian startup behind information aggregator Dailyhunt, short-video platform Josh, and hyperlocal video app PublicVibe — has lower 150 staff, or 5% of its workforce of three,000, TechCrunch has discovered and confirmed.

The Bengaluru-based startup knowledgeable impacted staff on Friday and individually held a city corridor assembly on Monday the place it introduced pay cuts to its remaining employees, folks accustomed to the matter instructed TechCrunch.

It’s a significant flip for VerSe Innovation, which is backed by the likes of Google and Microsoft and raised greater than $800 million in contemporary funding as not too long ago as April of this 12 months. The change speaks to only how a lot the underside has fallen out from below the promoting market, how that’s impacting high-profile client companies reliant on it, and the way that’s stretching to even a few of the fastest-growing digital markets like India.

“Given the present financial local weather, like different companies, we’ve evaluated our strategic priorities. Contemplating the long-term viability of the enterprise and our folks, we have now taken steps to implement our common bi-annual efficiency administration cycle and made efficiency and enterprise concerns to streamline our prices and our groups,” mentioned Umang Bedi, co-founder of VerSe Innovation, in a ready assertion responding to queries initially despatched on Saturday.

He additionally confirmed that the startup carried out an 11% wage lower for all remaining staff with salaries above $12,200 (10 lakh Indian rupees) each year.

“We stay extraordinarily dedicated and bullish throughout our whole household of apps — Josh, Dailyhunt and PublicVibe — to drive worthwhile development,” he mentioned.

In April, VerSe Innovation raised $805 million at an almost $5 billion valuation in a Sequence J spherical led by Canada Pension Plan Funding Board (CPP Investments). Ontario Academics’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Academics’), Luxor Capital, Sumeru Ventures, Sofina Group and Baillie Gifford.

The startup on the time mentioned that its Josh app — one of many native alternate options to TikTok, which India banned in mid-2020 — had climbed to over 150 million customers, together with 50 million creators. Equally, Dailyhunt grew its creator ecosystem to over 100,000 content material companions and crossed the mark of 350 million customers, whereas PublicVibe expanded its consumer base to over 5 million month-to-month lively customers.

Nonetheless, that development didn’t assist VerSe Innovation offset its losses.

In its regulatory filings, which Entrackr reported, the startup famous that its losses within the monetary 12 months 2021-22 grew over 217% to $314 million (2,563 crores Indian rupees) from $99 million (808 crores Indian rupees) within the earlier 12 months. Nonetheless, its working income reportedly elevated 46% to $118 million (965 crores Indian rupees) from $82 million (666 crores Indian rupees).

VerSe Innovation has turn out to be the most recent Indian startup to chop its workforce as a result of ongoing financial uncertainties. Within the final couple of months, Byju’s, Unacademy and Chargebee, amongst others, have laid off lots of of staff.

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