Why Did Harappa Layoff Employees? Understanding the Indian EdTech Industry

Harappa, an EdTech startup owned by Upgrad, recently hit the news with their announcement of layoffs. The New Delhi based EdTech had to let go of 60 employees, which accounted for around 30% of their workforce, on 3rd January 2023. The news of this layoff spread like wildfire online and offline, and people started questioning the reasons behind it. In this blog, we will take a closer look at Harappa – the company – and try to understand the reasons behind this unfortunate event.

Introduction and History

Harappa was founded in 2018 by Shreyasi Singh and Pramath Raj Sinha with a mission to provide modern-day professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the 21st-century workplace. The platform concentrates on soft skills training and claims to offer a unique learning experience through a blend of cutting-edge technology, expert-led live sessions, and personalized feedback. Harappa has quickly gained popularity amongst working professionals in India due to its innovative approach and personalized learning experience.

Funding and Investors

Harappa has successfully raised $5.75 million in multiple rounds of funding. The latest funding of $3.5 million was led by 3one4 Capital, and other investors include Rajul Garg, Ryan Stockwell, and others. The company’s steady funding has allowed it to expand its business and launch multiple courses to cater to a broader section of working professionals.


On 3rd January 2023, Harappa announced that it had to lay off 60 employees, which accounted for around 30% of their workforce. The company released a statement citing the challenging market conditions as the reason behind the layoffs. In the same statement, the company also stated that it remains committed to its mission of helping professionals in their career growth. The news of the layoffs was not received positively by Harappa’s employees, and it sparked a wave of criticism on social media.

Reasons behind Layoffs

The EdTech industry in India is highly competitive, with multiple players vying for the attention of working professionals. The deadlines to meet the customer’s demands are ever-increasing, and resource allocation is a significant challenge for startups like Harappa. The EdTech industry is also prone to rapid changes in the market, and the wrong decision at the wrong time can lead to losses.
Another possible reason behind the layoffs could be the recent acquisition of Harappa by Upgrad. In 2020, Upgrad acquired a majority stake in Harappa to expand its business offerings to the B2C sector. While the acquisition provided a much-needed financial boost to Harappa, it also brought along with it the expectations of high growth rates.


In conclusion, the EdTech industry in India is rapidly evolving, and the recent layoffs are a clear indication of the challenges it entails. Harappa, despite being a promising startup, faces stiff competition and market uncertainties. While the layoffs may have been a tough call, the company will need to continue to adapt and innovate to remain relevant in the highly competitive EdTech industry.

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