Event management startup Hubilo lays off 35% staff

Event management startup Hubilo lays off 35% staff


Virtual and hybrid events platform Hubilo has laid off around 120 people, representing 35% of its workforce, after witnessing “de-growth” in 2022, ET has learnt.

The Bengaluru- and San Francisco-headquartered startup’s CEO and co-founder Vaibhav Jain wrote an e-mail to its employees earlier this week announcing the layoffs, people in the know said. ET has seen a copy of this email.

The layoff exercise, which has happened across the board in the company, has seen a 50% reduction in some teams, a source said. This is Hubilo’s second such exercise in less than a year after it reduced 12% of its overall employee count in July 2022.

In his email, Jain noted the impact of the pandemic on the company’s business, which led Hubilo to “de-grow”.

“As the pandemic resided, the pendulum swung and physical events came back strongly. Organisations preferred to use the same vendors that they used before the pandemic for their physical events. Also, event mobile apps are a commodity now allowing very little room for Hubilo to innovate and capture a sizeable market share in physical event space,” Jain wrote in his mail.

Hubilo did not immediately respond to ET’s query on the matter on Thursday.

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Jain’s note said that due to the current macroeconomic conditions, most companies are spending less on marketing and on events.“Unfortunately, Hubilo hired in anticipation of the high-growth that we saw in 2020 and 2021. With a heavy heart, given the 2022 market conditions, I have come to understand we need to get back to basics and return to efficient business operations,” the note to staff said.

“My job in the next few months is to grow the company sustainably with strong unit economics aka financial stability to not let the company de-grow and further burn our cash reserves.”

The Lightspeed Ventures-backed company last raised $125 million in funding in October 2021 in a round led by Alkeon Capital. In total, it has raised $153 million in private capital.

Jain also said that to act against the market dynamics of 2022, the company has pivoted to its mid-market segment. “In this segment, we believe events can be a pipeline accelerator assisting marketers grow revenue and moving us away from a cost centre solution,” he wrote.

“While we saw some greenshoots in Q4 for our new strategy, looking at 2023 it became clear to me that the only way to build a sustainable business is by restructuring our organisation,” he added.

The development has come at a time when tech and consumer internet companies across the globe are undertaking layoffs to rationalise their cost structures.

Earlier this week, ET reported pink slips being handed to over several hundreds of people at venture-backed startups such as Dunzo, ShareChat, GoMechanic and Rebel Foods, and others.

Across technology firms, layoffs are largely due to overestimation of growth by these companies.

Venture funding for startups fell by at least 30% in the calendar year of 2022 to nearly $24 billion, after a record year for fundraising in 2021, ET reported on December 29, citing data from Venture Intelligence, which tracks funding for privately-held startups.

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