WayCool Foods is a Chennai-based agri-tech startup that provides B2B and B2C solutions for procurement, distribution, and logistics of fresh produce. Founded in 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, WayCool Foods recently made headlines after laying off 300 employees in November 2023.
History and Funding:
WayCool Foods had a humble beginning as a bootstrapped startup operating in Chennai’s local markets. Their expertise in procurement and logistics quickly caught the attention of angel investors who saw potential in the untapped market of fresh produce. WayCool Foods raised a total of $363 million in funding from investors such as Lightbox Ventures, Netherland Development Finance Company, and FMO.
With a focus on sustainability and building a more efficient supply chain, WayCool Foods has established itself as one of the leading agritech startups in India. Their solutions have helped farmers get fair prices for their produce while providing customers with high-quality fresh produce. However, recent developments have forced WayCool Foods to take drastic measures.
Reason for Layoffs:
In November 2023, WayCool Foods announced that it would lay off 300 employees, representing 12% of its workforce. The decision came as part of a company-wide restructuring plan aimed at achieving profitability. The company spokesperson stated, “the layoffs were necessary to streamline operations and ensure the company’s longevity.”
Layoffs and Employee Impacts:
The layoffs affected employees across several departments, including logistics, procurement, and management. This came as a shock to the employees who were abruptly laid off without any prior indication. The affected employees received only a month’s salary as compensation.
Statement from Stakeholders:
The decision to layoff employees was met with criticism from stakeholders who saw WayCool Foods’ promise of being fair to its employees as empty words. The general sentiment was that the company prioritized profitability over people.
The WayCool Foods layoffs remind us of the harsh realities of the startup world, where profitability plays a significant role in decision-making. However, as stakeholders, we should hold WayCool Foods accountable for treating its employees fairly. The company must find a way to balance profitability with responsible employment practices without compromising its core values.