Bounce Lays Off 130 Employees As Covid-19 Impact Hits Mobility Startup !!

Bengaluru: Two-wheeler rental startup Bounce has decided to lay off around 22% of its workforce or 130 employees owing to the major Covid-19 impact on the mobility industry.

Bounce cofounder and CEO Vivekananda Hallekere said, “Unfortunately, the way the external environment has continued to shift means our medium-term workforce needs have changed as several new business lines, products, and projects we had planned will have to either transform or be put on hold in the coming quarters.”

He added that the layoffs have come as “an outcome of a change in our business priorities” and is purely a cost-cutting exercise. To support the laid-off employees, Bounce has decided to reinstate their salaries to the same level as before the pandemic-induced pay cuts in April and the entire amount — pending dues plus the deducted amount — will be given to these employees. The company is offering three-month severance pay as well, either in one go or credited to their accounts on a monthly basis, as per choice.

The company has also extended its corporate health insurance to these employees until the end of December 2020. Further, ESOP holders will be awarded on a pro-rata basis. The company will also help the team with outplacement support, Hallekere said.

Founded in 2014 by Vivekananda Hallekere, Varun Agni and Anil G, Bounce is a bike rental service that provides premium motorcycles for rent under the brand name Wicked Rides and commuter bikes under the Bounce brand. The company was previously known as Metro Bikes. The company offers premium bikes such as Enfields, Harley-Davidson, Triumph, Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM and others for rent across India.

The company has raised over $110 Mn from investors like Sequoia Capital India, Chiratae Ventures, Maverik Ventures, Falcon Edge, Qualcomm Ventures and Omidyar Network India etc. The company enabled over 25 Mn rides in under 18 months in Bengaluru alone. Bounce charges users on the basis of duration of rentals and distance travelled. It claims to have over 23K keyless scooters in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Out of these, 20K vehicles are in Bengaluru and 3K in Hyderabad.

The company claims to offer its dockless scooter has its rental services in over 35 cities. Last year, the company also spoke about wanting to expand its fleet to include more than 50K scooters. However, many of these plans would have to be put on hold given the revenue troubles.

As a result of Covid-19, the company says that it is evident that the way people view the need for mobility will change even more significantly than we expected. “We have made valuable additions to our product offerings to suit the new needs and changing priorities of our customers, increasing the pace of electric vehicle adoption, but we also must acknowledge the world has changed even beyond what we anticipated,” he added.


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