SoftBank-backed delivery app Rappi lays off 6% of total workforce

FILE PHOTO - SoftBank Corp. placard is prepared during a ceremony to mark the company's debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, December 19, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Latin American delivery startup Rappi said on Thursday it has laid off 6% of its workforce, less than a year after Japan’s SoftBank Group invested nearly $1 billion in the company.

Rappi did not specify the number of jobs it is cutting. According to the Brazil Journal news outlet, Rappi employs about 5,000 people, which implies the job cuts could affect at least 300 staff.

The on-demand delivery app said its “internal leadership team” made the layoff decision. The firm’s board of directors includes a SoftBank representative.

SoftBank has been facing pressure to make Rappi a success following steep losses at two of its other big investments – WeWork and Uber <UBER.N>.

Rappi, which has expanded its footprint in nine countries since its founding in 2015, delivers everything from groceries and restaurant meals to medication and furniture, and has branched out into scooter rental, travel and basic banking services.

“We are in fact actively hiring a large number of people in our areas of focus for 2020,” the company said in a statement, describing technology as a priority.

“We are investing heavily in our tech team, automating some roles, re-balancing areas and embracing high performers,” Rappi said. It did not say how many employees it plans to recruit.

Rappi is also building up a trove of consumer and sales data from millions of users that is highly coveted by consumer brands, restaurants, supermarkets and stores.

Softbank‘s investment of nearly $1 billion last April made Rappi its biggest bet in Latin America, where the Japanese conglomerate plans to invest nearly $5 billion.

When asked how soon Rappi would turn in a profit, co-founder Sebastian Mejia told Reuters his priority was to grow fast, and that investors were on board with the plan.

Reuters

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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.