The layoffs were announced in the last week of December, with employees being asked to resign over messages and calls, sources said
This was the first round of layoffs at the edtech startup and more employees are likely to lose their jobs over the coming days, a source said
Harappa Education was acquired by Ronnie Screwvala’s upGrad for $38 Mn in July last year
There seems to be no end to the troubles of the edtech sector in the country as Delhi-based edtech startup Harappa Education has laid off around 73 employees, or almost 40% of its workforce, sources told Inc42.
The layoffs were announced in the last week of December, with employees being asked to resign over messages and calls without any further clarification or official letter, sources said.
The startup laid off employees from content, design, product, and marketing teams, the sources added. The development was first reported by Business Today.
The laid-off employees were offered only one-month salary as severance package. While the startup didn’t specify any reason for the layoffs, the respective managers of the impacted employees cited Harappa’s changing business model as the reason, the sources added.
Inc42 reached out to Harappa Education for a comment on the layoffs, however, the startup did not respond till the time of publication of this story. The article would be updated on receiving a response.
More Layoffs Likely
This seems to be the first phase of layoffs at the edtech startup, with more employees likely to lose their jobs over the coming days. “This is the first phase of layoffs and there could be more. It seems that two lists were made – one for December and the other for January. Hence, in January more layoffs are expected,” the sources told Inc42.
Harappa Education was acquired by Ronnie Screwvala’s upGrad for $38 Mn (INR 300 Cr) in July last year. In September, the edtech major announced plans to invest $40 Mn (INR 320 Cr), in Harappa Education.
“At the time of acquisition, Harappa Education’s employees were told that the deal would not affect their jobs. However, there was a mandate from upGrad that Harappa Education had to be profitable from the first quarter of FY24,” a source said, adding that Harappa Education was earning INR 3 Cr per month while it was burning around INR 7 Cr a month.
A lot of senior managers started resigning from their jobs at the startup from October due to reshuffling of roles and other reasons, raising concerns among other employees, the sources said.
Harappa Education had over 180 employees before the latest round of job cuts.
Set up in 2018 by Pramath Raj Sinha and Shreyasi Singh, Harappa Education is a business-to-business edtech startup that offers self-paced educational courses for career growth and productivity, and personality development, among others, for working professionals.
The year 2022 was a difficult year for the edtech sector as the reopening of schools and educational institutions after nearly two years of Covid-led disruptions hit their revenues. The ongoing funding winter further added to the woes.
As a result, several edtech majors like BYJU’S, Vedantu, and Unacademy, as well as smaller startups resorted to layoffs to cut costs and increase their runway.
BYJU’S laid off 2,500 employees last year, while Unacademy fired 1,500 employees. In December, Vedantu initiated its fourth round of layoffs in which it fired 385 employees across teams. As per Inc42’s layoff tracker, over 7,500 edtech employees were laid off in 2022.
Moreover, five edtech startups – Lido Learning, Crejo.Fun, Udayy, Qin1, and SuperLearn – shut their operations in 2022.