In a massive cut in its staff, InMobi has announced that it will be laying off nearly 10 per cent of its staff in a phased manner. The decision, which will leave almost 100 employees jobless, is yet another example of the massive competition in the mobile advertising niche, and how funds continue to dry up for even India’s biggest new-age companies.
The company was founded in 2007 and started off as mKhoj, a SMS-based search platform with initial funding from Mumbai Angels. It had a good run after it changed its name to InMobi and started working in the mobile discovery and advertising niche.
The company attracted a fair bit of investor attention, becoming a unicorn, and was even named one of MIT Technology Review’s 50 most disruptive companies of 2013. However, increasing competition from the likes of Google and Facebook has put the company into difficult times.
Apparently, in the face of survival struggles that were only delayed by the massive investments poured into the company by its set of heavyweight investors including SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures, the company has been advised to cut down upon costs — and ofcourse, reducing the number of employees is one of the most effective methods of reducing expenditure.
Speaking to The Hindu, an InMobi spokesperson said that people routinely leave the company for their own reasons, which could also include career aspirations.
We (also) let go of a few people for performance reasons each year.
Although, 100 out of 1000 doesn’t really strike me as a few people. To me the statement seems to reflect the company trying to down play the layoff and its implications.
InMobi also talked about its plans to hire almost as many people again, this year. For now though, the layoffs are expected to affect folks siting at senior executive levels to the programmers, with the latest hired in greater danger of being fired.
The company is not alone in laying off employees though. Many startups that, boosted by a flurry of large investments, took upon a lot of people are walking the same path, now that investors are finally drawing their purse string tighter.
Well, let’s hope that the company’s artificial intelligence discovery platform, Miip that had everyone excited when it was announced, is able to turn fortunes back.