Singapore fintech startup GoBear lays off 11% of workforce

Singapore-based fintech startup GoBear on Tuesday said it has retrenched 22 employees, or around 11 per cent of its 200-person workforce.

The layoffs affected six people in Singapore, four in the Philippines, nine in Vietnam and three in Ukraine, the company said in a media statement, adding the employees were from across the operations, product and technology teams.

“Letting people go is not a decision that we take lightly. We have previously undertaken a number of non-people related measures to improve focus and lower our cost base,” Adrian Chng, CEO of GoBear, said in a statement sent to employees.

“However, because of the continued impact of COVID-19, we have had to make these decisions as a last resort,” he added.

Chng added the company would provide post-employment support to the affected workers, including severance packages and job search assistance.

The statement added the company would focus on two key growth areas, digital lending and digital insurance brokerage, to tide over the crisis.

In May, GoBear landed $17 million in funding from existing Dutch investors, venture capital firm Walvis Participaties and insurance group Aegon, bringing its total external funding to $97 million.

GoBear, which started out as an insurance comparison site, said at the time it planned to use the funding to rev up its online financial marketplace, digital insurance brokerage and digital lending services.

Just a few weeks before the fundraising, GoBear had acquired consumer lender AsiaKredit to boost its digital lending business.

Launched in 2015, GoBear claims to have doled out over 2,000 personal finance products to over 55 million users across its markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.