Edtech start-up FrontRow has laid off about 150 employees, which is 30 per cent of its 500-strong team.
Around 95 per cent of the layoffs are said to be in sales, though some people in HR, operations, and quality functions have also been affected.
Speaking to BusinessLine, FrontRow founder Ishaan Preet Singh said, “given the market conditions we’ve prioritised increasing efficiency through higher automation and focussing on profitable channels.”
FrontRow has a 350-member team currently and a runway of almost 24 months after the rationalisation. A source close to the development, who did not want to be identified, said the company had been aggressively hiring in sales.
“Until April 2022, the company was hiring almost 150-200 Business Development Associates each week in sales roles. In April, the hiring rate slowed down to 50-60 sales hires per week, and eventually 30-40 hires in a week,” the source added.
Hence, many of the laid off employees were recent hires. In some cases, they had barely completed a month before being laid off.
A second source said, “I joined last month and was promised a high salary and weekly incentives (5-7 per cent) on sales, but I haven’t got a single incentive till date.”
To this, Singh said “there might be a couple of cases where this might have happened and in those cases, we will work it out. Incentives are expected to be closed in a couple of weeks. The severance package is also on a case-to-case basis, because some of the folks were still on probation.”
“Our mission remains the same – enabling everyone to learn what they love. To ensure that we achieve that goal over the next decades and that we have over 24 months of runway to keep iterating and improving on our core business, we had to take a few difficult prioritisation decisions over the past few weeks,” he added. The company still continues to hire a few people in its core functions, but Singh said there would not be massive hiring.
In September 2021, FrontRow raised $14 million in funding from Eight Roads Ventures, GSV, along with angels such as Gaurav Munjal, Kunal Shah, Vishal Dadlani, and Raftaar. Earlier, it raised a $3.2-million seed round from Lightspeed, Elevation and Deepika Padukone’s Family Office.
May 30, 2022