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Urban Ladder lays off about 400 employees amid fund crunch

We would have shut down if we hadn’t asked them to leave, says CEO
Urban Ladder lays off about 400 employees amid fund crunch
Urban Ladder lays off about 400 employees amid fund crunch

ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS Urban Ladder, which began as an online furniture retailer and later adopted an omnichannel strategy, has laid off 40 per cent of its employees during the March quarter of the financial year 2018-19. The company has reported the number of employees at 700 during the March quarter from the previous count of 1,100. This means that about 400 employees were sent home during the quarter. It is learnt that employees across multiple levels have been laid off.

Urban Ladder, which was among the shining examples of India's start-up story, had to trim the head-count owing to lack of funds to sustain its operations, media reports suggest.

The news of layoffs came even as Urban Ladder claimed that would soon be turning EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) positive. Urban Ladder’s inability to raise more funding and a struggle to turn profitable were the major reasons cited by the management to the employees who were handed pink slips, reported Business Line. Apparently, this is the second time the company has laid off employees after 2016.

“We had no other option. We would have shut down if we hadn’t asked them to leave,” the Business Line report quoted Ashish Goel, co-founder and CEO of Urban Ladder, as saying.

Urban Ladder, backed by Ratan Tata, has raised $112 million in various rounds of funding since 2012, including venture capital majors such as Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital. However, the company is reeling under stiff market competition with the presence of players like Pepperfry.

The Indian furniture market is valued at about $18 billion. However, more than 90 per cent of the pie is dominated by unbranded players. Players like Urban Ladder, Pepperfry and a host of offline furniture brands vie for the rest 10 per cent. In addition, the entry of international furniture major IKEA has also tightened up the space.

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