Koo has laid off 5% of its workforce employees from its operations and backend team across north India
The startup told Inc42 it has streamlined its workforce to align with the current business requirements
As per sources, Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna is also in talks with various investors for a fresh funding round
Update | 5th September, 18:00; 6th September, 00:30; 6th September, 16:40
The article body and headline have been updated to include Koo’s detailed responses on the layoffs, including the number of employees impacted; and Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna’s London visit details. It’s to be noted that the earlier statement shared by Koo on 31st August (at 18:24) did not have these details.
The new updates have been marked in italics.
The earlier version of the article mentioned that Radhakrishna was in London for fundraising. According to Koo, “Mr. Radhakrishna was in London for an industry event for Indian entrepreneurs (including a meeting with the British PM), which was also attended by the Hon’ble Minister of State Sh. Rajeev Chandrashekhar. Mr. Radhakrishna did not meet any funders or HNIs in London and did not engage in any fundraising.”
The company further added that 15 positions have been made redundant or removed due to performance issues which is around 5% of the total workforce and completely aligned with industry standards of hiring and retrenchment.
Original Story | 31st August, 20:20
Micro-blogging platform Koo, the homegrown rival of Twitter, has laid off employees from its operations and backend team amid a funding crunch, multiple sources told Inc42.
According to two sources with knowledge of the development, 40 employees were sacked by Koo. In a statement, Koo claimed that 5% of its workforce were impacted due to layoffs.
The laid-off employees were mostly working in Delhi and other north Indian offices, one of the sources said. The layoffs took place over the last month amidst a lot of people leaving the social media startup, the sources added.
Responding to Inc42’s query on the issue, a Koo spokesperson said that only 15 positions have been made redundant or removed due to performance issues which is around 5% of the total workforce and completely aligned with industry standards of hiring and retrenchment.
“At the same time Koo continues to hire talent in its monetisation, product and engineering teams. The additional hires will help the company gear up for the next phase of growth and monetisation which the company has already announced,” as per a Koo spokesperson.
The development comes at a time when Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna has been in talks with several investors for a fresh round of funding, a source quoted above said. The startup has raised $44.5 Mn till date and is backed by investors like Tiger Global, Blume Ventures, Kalaari Capital, Accel, and 3one4 Capital.
Notably, Koo was one of the top advertisers on Meta (Facebook), as per a recent report by Hyderabad-based enterprise digital marketing agency Pyrite Technologies. Koo, as per the report, was second on the list of top advertisers on Meta, behind spiritual guru Sadhguru.
It spent INR 8.67 Cr on advertising on Meta platform during April 27-July 25 period, more than the spends of the ruling BJP, UNICEF, among others, as per the report.
The microblogging platform last raised $10 Mn (INR 79 Cr) in two tranches from more than a dozen investors, including Capier Venture Partner, Ravi Modi Family Trust, and Ashneer Grover, in February this year.
Prior to that, Koo raised $30 Mn in a Series B round led by Tiger Global and various other investors in May 2021.
Koo, founded in March 2020 by serial entrepreneurs Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidwatka, shot to fame amidst an intense stand-off between the government and Twitter over social media intermediary guidelines. The startup was one of the first social media companies to come out in support of the Indian government’s new social media guidelines or IT Rules, which came into force last year.
Bombinate Technologies, the parent entity of Koo, spent INR 24.7 Cr to earn INR 7.7 Lakh in the financial year 2020-21 (FY21). It posted a loss of INR 35 Cr during the year, while its expenses surged 75% to INR 24.7 Cr from INR 14.1 Cr in FY20.
Koo CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna had told Inc42, in an earlier exclusive interaction, that the micro-blogging platform will go to the market to raise funds at the right time. “We have raised $40-45 Mn so far with $30 Mn from Tiger and $10 Mn from Indian family offices as the last two rounds,” he added.
Radhakrishna further said that monetisation will happen once the startup captures the market. “That’s not a problem. There are enough ways that the US, as well as Chinese social media, have made money. So the important thing is to capture the market. That’s what we’re doing. That’s where we’re spending time,” Radhakrishna said.