SoftBank-backed Unacademy fires 350 employees, CEO apologises and promises severance pay

In the midst of the “funding winter” talks around the world, Softbank-led unicorn Unacademy has laid off 350 employees. According to reports, the layoffs would happen across verticals, some of which would also be shut or scaled down.

The latest development occurs after Unacademy’s CEO and co-founder Gaurav Munjal told employees that the company won’t be continuing the layoffs. The Indian unicorn fired more than 800 employees in 2022.

In an email that Munjal sent to employees, he said that the company needs to cut costs amid harsh economic conditions, emphasising the “needs to keep optimising and building efficient systems for leaner and unprecedented times”.

Yet as the company took a u-turn, Munjal apologised to employees, reasoning that “the market challenges have forced (them) to reevaluate our decisions.” He also said that the “funding has significantly slowed down and a large portion of (their) core business has moved offline.” Munjal also reiterated that the laid-off employees will receive severance pay equivalent to their notice period.

“The next few days will be about helping the members who are leaving Unacademy and I would like to request all functions and teams to support this transition,” Munjal added.

The layoffs move comes after Unacademy reported losses worth Rs 2,848 crore for the year, on the operating budget of Rs 719 crore, which was the second-biggest loss for an Indian unicorn.

The edtech company has already laid off almost 50% of its workforce and with the latest round of layoffs, team strength would be coming down from 6,000 to 3,150. Unacademy has also been cutting costs aggressively since the start of this year. It remains to be seen how the founders tackle the backlash it will receive as it joins the list of companies that have laid off employees in thousands.

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