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Google, Microsoft backed VerSe Innovation sacks 150 employees, cuts pay for employees earning ₹10 lakh or more

  • Bengaluru-based startup Verse Innovation has decided to lay off 5% of its workforce or 150 employees to cut costs and streamline operations.
  • It also announced pay cuts for 11% of its employees, who are earning ₹10 lakh per annum or more.
  • This has happened months after the startup raised $800 million as fresh funding in April this year.

VerSe Innovation, the parent company of short video platform Josh and news aggregator Dailyhunt, has become the latest unicorn that has resorted to retrenchments this year, after Byju’s, Udaan and Zomato.

The co-founders of the Bengaluru-based startup, Virendra Gupta and Umang Bedi, announced in a town hall meeting that it has decided to lay off 150 employees or 5% of its workforce,
according to Techcrunch.

They also announced an 11% pay cut for the remaining employees who are earning ₹10 lakh per annum or more.

“Given the current economic climate, like other businesses, we’ve evaluated our strategic priorities. Considering the long-term viability of the business and our people, we have taken steps to implement our regular bi-annual performance management cycle and made performance and business considerations to streamline our costs and our teams,
said Umang Bedi, co-founder of VerSe Innovation, in a prepared statement.

This move comes months after the startup raised $800 million as fresh funding in April this year, led by CPP Investments. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Sumeru Ventures and Luxor Capital, Sofina Group and Baillie Gifford also participated in the funding round.

Bedi further said that the next year will be tough and the measures taken will help the company to sustain in the market. “We have exercised fiscal and employee prudence, and implemented an 11% salary cut for individuals with annual salaries of ₹10 lakh or more,” Bedi added.

According to media
reports, the startup’s losses widened to ₹2,563 crore in FY22, even as its operating revenue grew by 46% to ₹965 crore.

Backed by Google and Microsoft, the company became a unicorn after it raised $227 million from Microsoft, Sequoia, Matrix Partners India, Qatar Investment Authority and others in November 2020.

Tech majors like Amazon, Meta, Twitter and Salesforce have been cutting jobs leaving thousands of techies jobless, globally.

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