Southeast Asian startups hit by job cuts, downsizing

Picture: Jevanto

The coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on Southeast Asia’s startup scene as demand for digital services from both consumers and corporations has taken a dive and venture capital is drying up fast as a result, hitting a seven-year low. The few exemptions in the current situation are sectors such as healthcare, food delivery and online education.

For instance, Singapore-headquartered fashion startup Zilingo, which operates across Southeast, South and East Asia, said it will let go five per cent of its 900-strong workforce as it embarks on company-wide restructuring measures which has led to “several tough decisions” regarding redundant job positions.

Ride-hailing-turned-ecommerce company Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, says it will have to “right-size” costs as demand for its services shrank “dramatically” in the past months.

“Covid-19 is the single biggest crisis to affect Grab in the eight years of our existence,” Grad holdings CEO Anthony Tan said on April 20, adding that ”it has had an unprecedented impact on our operations, our business and the livelihoods of our partners.”

Grab: “Operational adjustments necessary”

Tan also said there would be “tough decisions” coming up as the company seeks to “right-size its costs, manage its capital efficiently and make the necessary operational adjustments in order to weather the storm and carve out a path to profitability.”

Another victim of the pandemic is travel booking service Traveloka, one of Indonesia’s most valuable startups. The company said it was forced to lay off at least ten per cent of around 1,000 staff, as the coronavirus outbreak drastically curbs demand for travel. Some of those who remain are being paid half of their regular salary.

Among others which are in trouble are digital payment startup Fomo Pay from Singapore which had to let go some of its part-time workers and defer overseas expansion plans, as well as Malaysia’s flower delivery startup BloomThis which saw revenue drop by 90 per cent, Indonesia-based game developer Agate International, which announced a hiring freeze, and Singapore-based digital wallet YouTrip, which trimmed pay cuts for senior management and slashed marketing expenses by half.

Thailand’s online eyewear retailer Glazziq said it had to defer salary raises and bonus packages until year-end, in addition to pushing back expansion plans, while Indonesian recruitment platform Urbanhire also embarked on a savings programme.

New job database for startup talent already counts 900 job seekers

Meanwhile, a job database for technology talent launched by 25 venture capital firms in Southeast Asia, including Trive Venture, B Capital, Alpha JWC Ventures, SIG Asia, Big Idea Ventures, Morph Ventures and Jungle Ventures, as of April 24 has swelled to more than 900 people seeking new jobs since its inception on April 1, while technology companies have listed just 133 job openings so far.

The database, on SEAcosystem.com, aims at connecting startup employees impacted by coronavirus layoffs with “new opportunities” as the initiators hope for employers who think long-term and help keeping talent in Southeast Asia as opposed to those who are quickly axing staff during times when production and transaction numbers decline.

Picture: Jevanto The coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on Southeast Asia’s startup scene as demand for digital services from both consumers and corporations has taken a dive and venture capital is drying up fast as a result, hitting a seven-year low. The few exemptions in the current situation are sectors such as healthcare, food delivery and online education. For instance, Singapore-headquartered fashion startup Zilingo, which operates across Southeast, South and East Asia, said it will let go five per cent of its 900-strong workforce as it embarks on company-wide restructuring measures which has led to “several tough decisions” regarding...

Picture: Jevanto

The coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on Southeast Asia’s startup scene as demand for digital services from both consumers and corporations has taken a dive and venture capital is drying up fast as a result, hitting a seven-year low. The few exemptions in the current situation are sectors such as healthcare, food delivery and online education.

For instance, Singapore-headquartered fashion startup Zilingo, which operates across Southeast, South and East Asia, said it will let go five per cent of its 900-strong workforce as it embarks on company-wide restructuring measures which has led to “several tough decisions” regarding redundant job positions.

Ride-hailing-turned-ecommerce company Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup, says it will have to “right-size” costs as demand for its services shrank “dramatically” in the past months.

“Covid-19 is the single biggest crisis to affect Grab in the eight years of our existence,” Grad holdings CEO Anthony Tan said on April 20, adding that ”it has had an unprecedented impact on our operations, our business and the livelihoods of our partners.”

Grab: “Operational adjustments necessary”

Tan also said there would be “tough decisions” coming up as the company seeks to “right-size its costs, manage its capital efficiently and make the necessary operational adjustments in order to weather the storm and carve out a path to profitability.”

Another victim of the pandemic is travel booking service Traveloka, one of Indonesia’s most valuable startups. The company said it was forced to lay off at least ten per cent of around 1,000 staff, as the coronavirus outbreak drastically curbs demand for travel. Some of those who remain are being paid half of their regular salary.

Among others which are in trouble are digital payment startup Fomo Pay from Singapore which had to let go some of its part-time workers and defer overseas expansion plans, as well as Malaysia’s flower delivery startup BloomThis which saw revenue drop by 90 per cent, Indonesia-based game developer Agate International, which announced a hiring freeze, and Singapore-based digital wallet YouTrip, which trimmed pay cuts for senior management and slashed marketing expenses by half.

Thailand’s online eyewear retailer Glazziq said it had to defer salary raises and bonus packages until year-end, in addition to pushing back expansion plans, while Indonesian recruitment platform Urbanhire also embarked on a savings programme.

New job database for startup talent already counts 900 job seekers

Meanwhile, a job database for technology talent launched by 25 venture capital firms in Southeast Asia, including Trive Venture, B Capital, Alpha JWC Ventures, SIG Asia, Big Idea Ventures, Morph Ventures and Jungle Ventures, as of April 24 has swelled to more than 900 people seeking new jobs since its inception on April 1, while technology companies have listed just 133 job openings so far.

The database, on SEAcosystem.com, aims at connecting startup employees impacted by coronavirus layoffs with “new opportunities” as the initiators hope for employers who think long-term and help keeping talent in Southeast Asia as opposed to those who are quickly axing staff during times when production and transaction numbers decline.

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