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Startup Digest: Mass layoffs at Twitter India, employees sue Twitter, Udaan's 2nd round of job cuts, Amazon announce hiring freezes

Startup Digest: Mass layoffs at Twitter India, employees sue Twitter, Udaan's 2nd round of job cuts, Amazon announce hiring freezes

Startup Digest: Mass layoffs at Twitter India, employees sue Twitter, Udaan's 2nd round of job cuts, Amazon announce hiring freezes
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By Aishwarya Anand  Nov 4, 2022 10:58:03 PM IST (Published)

Here are the top headlines from the startup space.

Twitter lays off large number of employees in India across functions: Sources

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Twitter which had more than 200 employees in India has announced large layoffs, in job cuts that have affected all verticals. The micro-blogging site has made significant cuts across the engineering team, which was the largest team in India, sources told CNBC-TV18. The firings are part of a global restructuring ordered by the social media platform's new owner Elon Musk.
In a letter sent to its employees in India, Twitter said, that it is conducting a workforce reduction to help improve the health of the company. "These decisions are never easy and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been identified as potentially impacted or at risk of redundancy," the letter which was seen by CNBC-TV18 said.
The letter further added, "Next steps will depend on which country you live in. To protect Twitter's confidential information and user data, we have suspended your access to our systems. For the avoidance of doubt, this suspension does not mean your employment has been terminated."
In a message on Slack to the employees who have been sacked, Twitter said, "Today is your last working day at the company, however, you will remain employed by Twitter and will receive compensation and benefits through your separation date of January 4, 2023.
Within a week, you will receive details of your severance offer, financial resources extending beyond your Non-Working Notice period. At that time you will also receive a Separation Agreement and Release of Claims and other offboarding information, such as how to return your Twitter materials (computer, badge, etc.)."
Several Twitter employees took to the platform, saying they had lost access to their laptops, emails, and internal Slack channels. The hashtag #Lovewhereyouworked began trending on Twitter soon after. Musk is expected to sack roughly half of Twitter's roughly 7,500-odd employees.
Twitter layoffs begin today; micro-blogging site sued
Twitter will tell employees by email on Friday about whether they have been laid off, temporarily closing its offices and preventing staff access, following a week of uncertainty about the company's future under new owner Elon Musk.
The social media company said in an email to staff that it will alert employees about cuts. "In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday," said the email, seen by Reuters.
Twitter said its offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended in order "to help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data."
Meanwhile, the micro-blogging site has been sued over Elon Musk’s plan to lay off nearly half of the social media giant's workforce without enough notice period, which is in violation of federal and California law, Bloomberg reported.
The lawsuit asks the court to issue an order requiring Twitter to obey the WARN Act, and restricting the company from soliciting employees to sign documents that could give up their right to participate in litigation.
Udaan hands pink slips to 300-350 staff in second round of layoffs
B2B e-commerce unicorn Udaan is laying off 300–350 employees in the second round of layoffs in a bid to turn profitable and achieve efficiency, a company source told CNBC-TV18.
According to sources, employees across functions and a number of contractual staff will be impacted by these layoffs. This follows a layoff round of 180 employees in June 2022.
"As Udaan moves forward in its journey to becoming a profitable company, the efficiency enhancement drive and the evolution in the business model have created some redundancies in the system, with some roles no longer required," a company spokesperson said. "As a responsible organisation, we are working towards providing all requisite support to the impacted employees,” the spokesperson added.
Udaan recently raised $120 million in convertible notes and debt from shareholders and bondholders. According to an internal email sent by the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Aditya Pande, the company is also aiming to become IPO-ready in 12-18 months.
"We will continue to invest to build Udaan as a professionally run organisation with scale, capabilities, and resilience that can leverage the huge opportunity that kirana commerce offers, while empowering the small businesses of Bharat," the spokesperson said.
Amazon, Lyft & Stripe announce hiring freezes and layoffs
The technology industry's slowdown came into even sharper relief Thursday as Amazon publicly said it had paused hiring for its corporate workforce and several other technology companies announced job cuts.
Amazon said senior executives this week decided to pause incremental corporate hiring because the economy was "in an uncertain place." The move added to a freeze from last month when the e-commerce giant halted corporate and technology hiring in its retail business for the rest of the year.
"We anticipate keeping this pause in place for the next few months and will continue to monitor what we're seeing in the economy and the business," said Beth Galetti, the Amazon executive in charge of human resources, in a note posted internally and on the company's blog.
At the same time, ride-hailing service Lyft said it would cut 13 percent of its employees or about 650 of its 5,000 workers. Stripe, a payment processing platform, said it would cut 14 percent of its employees, roughly 1,100 jobs.
Lionel Messi becomes
Global Brand Ambassador of BYJU'S education for all initiative
After scoring brilliant goals on the football field for so many years, Lionel Messi is ready to score one for a good cause. Edtech major BYJU's has roped in ‘Leo’ Messi as the first global brand ambassador of its social impact arm Education For All.
Messi, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentinian football team, has signed an agreement with BYJU'S to promote the cause of equitable education, BYJU'S said in a statement.
"We are honoured and excited to collaborate with Lionel Messi as our global ambassador. He rose from the grassroots to become one of the most successful sportspersons ever.
That is the kind of opportunity that BYJU'S Education For All (EFA) wants to create for the nearly 5.5 million children it currently empowers. No one represents the power of enhancing human potential more than Lionel Messi," BYJU'S co-founder Divya Gokulnath said.
The engagement of BYJU's with Messi will enhance the visibility of the edtech firm overseas as football has roughly 3.5 billion fans worldwide, and Lionel Messi has a social media following of nearly 450 million.
"It is not really surprising that the greatest player of all time is also the greatest learner of all time. I am sure this partnership will inspire millions of people around the world to dream bigger and learn better," Gokulnath said. Earlier this year, BYJU'S became the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Apple leads India premium smartphone segment with 40% share
Apple led the premium segment in India with a 40 percent share, followed by Samsung and OnePlus, registering the highest-ever shipment share in the country in the September quarter.
Apple reached its highest-ever share of 5 percent in India's smartphone market during the quarter driven by a strong channel push ahead of the festive season.
For the first time ever, an iPhone (iPhone 13) topped the overall India smartphone quarterly shipment rankings, according to Counterpoint Research.
"In terms of price bands, the premium segment (Rs 30,000 and above) reached its highest ever share of 12 percent during this quarter," said research analyst Shilpi Jain. "The iPhone 13 became the top smartphone model in Q3 2022, a first for Apple in India," she noted.
According to data from business intelligence platform Tofler, Apple India logged a net profit of Rs 1,263 crore, a growth of 3 percent (year-on-year) in the fiscal year, as sales were up a massive 45 percent.
Musk orders Twitter to cut infrastructure costs by $1 billion: Report
Elon Musk has directed Twitter’s teams to find up to $1 billion in annual infrastructure cost savings, according to two sources familiar with the matter and an internal Slack message reviewed by Reuters, raising concerns that Twitter could go down during high-traffic events like the US midterm elections.
The company is aiming to find between $1.5 million and $3 million a day in savings from servers and cloud services, said the Slack message, which referred to the project as "Deep Cuts Plan."
Twitter is currently losing about $3 million a day "with all spending and revenue considered," according to an internal document reviewed by Reuters.
The steep infrastructure cuts could put the Twitter website and app at risk of going down during critical events when users are rushing to Twitter to consume and share information, such as during moments of crisis or major political events, the sources said.
Dorsey's Block posts a jump in revenue, boosting shares
Block has posted a rise in third-quarter revenue as the growth of Cash App helped make up for stagnant cryptocurrency prices that had dogged the payments platform led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in previous quarters. The San Francisco-based company reported a 17% rise in total net revenue from the year prior at $4.52 billion in the third quarter.
Cash App, the company’s online payments service, increased gross profit by 51% to $774 million. The platform’s transactions rose to more than 49 million in the third quarter, up about 20% year over year. The company reported a net loss of 2 cents a share in the three months that ended September 30.
Coinbase reports third-quarter loss as volumes drop
US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has reported a third-quarter loss as high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical tensions weakened demand for risky assets, sapping trading volumes for digital currencies like bitcoin.
Coinbase said it had a net loss of $544.6 million for the three months ended September 30, or $2.43 per diluted share, compared with a profit of $406.1 million, or $1.62 per diluted share, a year earlier.
Transaction revenue fell 64% from a year earlier to $365.9 million. "Transaction revenue was significantly impacted by stronger macroeconomic and crypto market headwinds, as well as trading volume moving offshore," the company said in a shareholder letter. Net revenue was down 53.3% year-over-year at $576.4 million.
DoorDash results impress as taste for takeout defies inflation
Food delivery firm DoorDash’s orders surged to a record high in the third quarter as demand held strong against higher prices and rising inflation, helping it beat Wall Street targets for revenue and sending shares up 10% on Thursday.
Even though dining out has resumed in force, people are still ordering food online from the comfort of their homes like they did during lockdowns. DoorDash has, however, started to see a bit of an impact from recession-wary people buying fewer items each time they order, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
Still, for the time being, all was rosy as it recorded 439 million orders in the quarter and a 30% rise in gross order value - the total value of all app orders and subscription fees - to $13.53 billion. Apart from food, categories such as grocery, convenience and retail also did well.
PayPal shares tumble after forecast cut, spending slowdown warning
PayPal shares dropped 7% in premarket trading as the payments processor cut its annual revenue forecast, warning of a bleak holiday quarter as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.
Decades-high inflation has hit the purchasing power of consumers who also have to contend with the threat of a looming recession. PayPal said lower- and middle-income households had started to cut discretionary spending, as they grapple with higher prices of food, energy and gas.
"Given a challenging macro environment, slowing e-commerce trends and an unpredictable holiday shopping season, we are being appropriately prudent in our Q4 revenue guide," Chief Executive Daniel Schulman said in a call with analysts. The San Jose, California-based company cut its adjusted revenue growth outlook to 10 percent from 11 percent forecasts earlier.
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