Mumbai-based food ordering platform TinyOwl was in the news recently for a second major round of layoffs. Founder Harshvardhan Mandad confirmed the developments at his company by publishing a post Tuesday on the TinyOwl blog, in which he announced that it would be scaling its operational resources back from four cities, aiming for sustainability and growth.
On Wednesday evening, angry employees at the Pune office, who had been told that they would no longer have to show up to work, reportedly took co-founder Gaurav Choudhary hostage, where they questioned how the company's coffers were empty in light of its recent round of funding.
The TinyOwl statement on the hostage situation is attributed to Tanuj Khandelwal, Co-Founder.
"We have had a long day in resolving a critical situation in Pune wherein two of our employees had been made to stay back in office for over 48 hours. We have been able to resolve this and have immediately started working on considering the demands beyond the terms of employment, placed forward by other employees from other cities. We request you to please give us some time to first address our employees concerns. Post that we will be more than happy to answer any queries you may have."
The food delivery startup had already laid off around 150 employees in Pune and Mumbai in September.
Founded in 2014, TinyOwl has secured a total of $27 million (roughly Rs. 177 crores) in funding so far. Tinyowl had raised funding of Rs. 50 crores late October from existing investors led by Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners, which would have given the startup another 12 months of runtime. The firm currently operates in Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, and Pune.
TinyOwl's largest funded competitors in India are Zomato, Foodpanda, Swiggy, and HolaChef. At least two dozen other Indian food tech startups that have raised seed or angel level funding, but are struggling to raise follow-on rounds. Two Bengaluru-based food tech startups - SpoonJoy and Dazo shut their operations this year, the former being acqui-hired by hyperlocal delivery service Grofers.