Udaan is one of the most prominent companies in the Indian tech space, providing B2B e-commerce solutions in various sectors such as retail, healthcare, and food. It was founded in 2016 by three former employees of Flipkart, Sujeet Kumar, Amod Malviya, and Vaibhav Gupta. Initially, the company focused solely on the wholesale sector, but soon expanded into other areas as well. In just five years, Udaan has achieved remarkable success, becoming one of the fastest-growing unicorns in India.
Company History and Funding
The founders of Udaan had worked together at Flipkart for almost a decade before leaving to start their own venture. They were well-versed with the Indian e-commerce market and saw the untapped potential in the B2B space. Initially, they raised $10 million in series A funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and DST Global. In less than two years, they had raised a total of $870 million in five rounds of funding, with the latest one being in November 2019 where they raised $585 million from Tencent, Altimeter Capital, GGV Capital, and others.
Udaan was growing at an incredible rate, with a reported valuation of over $2 billion at the end of 2018. The company has a workforce of over 3,500 employees and operates in over 900 cities in India. The company claims to have over 3 million registered users who use their platform to buy and sell goods. Udaan has been instrumental in digitizing the supply chain and logistics processes for small and medium businesses by providing them access to a large network of suppliers and customers.
Layoffs at Udaan
However, Udaan recently made headlines for laying off 350 employees from their Bengaluru office. This was the second wave of layoffs that the company had implemented within the same year. The company management cited the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy as the primary reason for the layoffs. Udaan’s CEO, Sujeet Kumar, stated that the company had to take difficult decisions to ensure the long-term stability of the business.
Reaction from Employees and Stakeholders
The layoffs were a blow to the affected employees, who expressed disappointment and frustration at the company’s decision. They alleged that the layoffs were carried out without any prior notice or consultation. The company’s management, however, asserted that they had followed due process and had offered adequate compensation to the affected employees. The stakeholders’ response to the incident has been mixed, with some expressing solidarity with the employees and others expressing support for the company’s decision in the interest of business sustainability.
In conclusion, Udaan is a prime example of a successful startup that has leveraged technology to disrupt traditional business models. The company has raised substantial funding and has achieved tremendous growth. However, recent layoffs have highlighted the challenges that businesses face in unprecedented times. As the economy grapples with the pandemic’s impact, businesses must make tough decisions in the interest of survival and long-term stability. Udaan’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for other startups grappling with similar challenges.