Bengaluru-based fintech startup Jodo, backed by Tiger Global, recently implemented a significant round of layoffs, affecting approximately 100 employees across various departments. This move comes as the startup faces challenges in achieving its business targets, leading to a need for cost-cutting measures.
Town Hall Meeting Signals Business Struggles
Sources reveal that the layoffs were announced during a virtual town hall meeting held on November 17, where the founders communicated the necessity of reducing costs to ensure the startup’s sustainability in the coming months. Additionally, the founders acknowledged that Jodo fell short of its business targets for the current year, prompting the cost-cutting initiative.
Unmet Business Targets and Market Realities
Jodo, founded in 2020, set an ambitious goal to increase the amount of fees processed on its platform by 10 times in 2023 compared to the previous year. However, sources indicate that the startup is likely to end the year with only a 3x rise, falling significantly short of the targeted growth. The discrepancy between projections and actual performance contributed to the need for layoffs.
Jodo: Business Background and Funding
The fintech startup secured backing from notable investors, including Tiger Global, Elevation Capital, and Matrix Partners. Jodo, founded by Atulya Bhat, Raghav Nagarajan, and Koustav Dey, specializes in educational fees management, providing a platform for educational institutions to manage fees efficiently. Last year, Jodo raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Tiger Global, valuing the startup at $90 million.
Jodo: Impact Across Departments and Employee Categories
The layoffs at Jodo affected various departments, including engineering, data, customer success, product management, and sales. Both new hires and high-salary individuals experienced the impact of this retrenchment exercise. Sources indicate that the affected employees are being offered a severance pay of 45 days and outplacement support to assist them in their career transitions.
Business Target Discrepancy and Market Dynamics
Insiders reveal that Jodo faced a significant challenge in meeting its business targets. The startup processed fees amounting to INR 900 crore last year and aimed for an ambitious INR 9,000 crore this year, a target deemed unattainable. The actual fees processed by Jodo in 2023 are projected to be INR 3,000 crore. Market dynamics, shifting customer behavior post-Covid, and increased competition from alternative lending tech platforms have impacted Jodo’s performance.
One source highlights the seasonal nature of Jodo’s business, indicating that the peak season typically occurs in April when a new academic season commences. The gradual shift in customer behavior post-Covid has contributed to a decline in reliance on Jodo’s offerings by educational institutions, impacting the startup’s revenue streams.
Financial Performance and Layoff Trends
Jodo reported a net loss of INR 8.6 crore in the financial year 2021-22, with operating revenue totaling INR 1.67 crore. The recent layoffs at Jodo align with broader trends in the Indian startup ecosystem, where companies have been compelled to undertake workforce reductions amid funding challenges. According to Inc42’s layoff tracker, Indian startups have collectively laid off nearly 29,000 employees since 2022.
The recent developments at Jodo underscore the challenges faced by startups in maintaining growth trajectories and meeting investor expectations. The fintech landscape, marked by competition and evolving market dynamics, poses ongoing challenges for players in the sector. As Jodo navigates these hurdles, the startup’s response and adaptation strategies will be closely watched by industry observers.
In conclusion, Jodo’s recent layoffs reflect the broader complexities faced by startups in a dynamic market, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning, adaptability, and realistic goal-setting to ensure sustained growth.