Bounce, a leading mobility startup based in Bengaluru, India, has recently made headlines due to their layoff of 130 employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This move has come as a surprise to many, as Bounce had been experiencing significant growth over the past few years with an impressive Series D funding round of $214 million.
Company History and Overview:
Bounce was founded in 2014 by Vivekananda HR, Varun Agni, and Anil G. Initially named as ‘Wicked Rides,’ the company’s primary focus was on renting out motorcycles to customers in Bengaluru. Over the years, the company’s vision evolved, and they expanded their services to include the sharing and renting of bicycles and electric scooters. Bounce has successfully positioned itself as a reliable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective solution to the problems of urban mobility in India.
Funding and Investor Details:
The company has received a total of $266 million in funding since its inception, with an impressive $214 million in their Series D round in 2019. This round was led by Accel, Chiratae Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from Maverick Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Sequoia India. Bounce has been successful in attracting prominent investors who have shown faith in the company’s long-term vision.
Bounce’s business operates on a simple model: customers can rent a bike or scooter for as little as Rs 2 ($0.03) per km. The company has established partnerships with businesses like Google, Swiggy, and Ola Cabs, which has helped them increase their customer base and the number of bookings. According to the company, they have serviced over 10 million bookings in 2019 alone, and the number has been continuously growing.
Reasons for Layoffs:
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mobility industry significantly, with a decrease in demand for shared vehicles. With social distancing measures in place, people are opting for private vehicles over shared ones, leading to a decrease in revenue for Bounce. The company stated that they were forced to layoff 130 employees due to the economic strain caused by the pandemic. The layoff is expected to impact mainly non-core business segments, such as their headcount in customer support, retail, and rental services.
Employee Count and Layoff:
The company had a total employee count of 1400 before the layoff. Bounce laid off 130 employees, resulting in a 22% layoff percentage. While it is unfortunate news for those affected, the move was necessary for the company’s long-term sustainability. The company also stated that they will continue to support the affected employees through extensive counseling, outplacement support, and financial aid.
Statement from Company Stakeholders:
According to the CEO of Bounce, Vivekananda HR, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mobility industry. We have taken this step to reduce costs and ensure the long-term sustainability of our business, which is crucial during these challenging times. The affected employees have been an integral part of our journey, and we will extend our full support to them during this difficult period.”