Reshamandi, the Bengaluru-based innovative startup that worked in the silk supply chain, has announced a massive layoff where 80% of its staff is laid off. This comes as a result of the company falling short of succeeding in securing essential funds to keep the company alive.


PC: Incubees

Layoffs at ReshaMandi are massive, with almost 700 people in the various departments. Once touted as a startup that would single-handedly bring efficiency into the traditionally fragmented silk industry in India, this firm has been battling financial hiccups that have caused such unprecedented downsizing. This move has unsettled not only the life of the employees but also, in effect, has thrown a shadow over the future operations of the startup.

The primary cause of these layoffs has been that ReshaMandi has failed to secure further investments. While it raised previous rounds of funding, the financial health of the startup only weakened and failed to attract new investors who could infuse the required capital into the company. The firm was in conversation months ago with certain potential investors, but sadly, nothing substantial materialized from these discussions. This financial strain has put the company in a situation where its only option is a global reduction of staff at a very high level to attempt to manage its costs.

The Reshamandi case underlines how volatile and risky it is within the startup ecosystem, more so in those areas of high-capital investment. In the case of ReshaMandi, the Valuation-Funding cycle becomes very important to a startup, much more for a company like ReshaMandi involved in sectors like agriculture and textiles where return on investment would take time.

The declaration did not come easy on any employee. Many had joined this startup, extents with the hope of getting to be part of some transformative venture in the silk industry. Now, because of its sudden termination, many have been left jostling for new opportunities amid a scorching job market. Furious at the sudden event of job loss, former employees express their disappointment through social media, revealing uncertainty and frustration.

Still, ReshaMandi’s leadership is optimistic. The company is going to integrate operations and focus on core strengths. Stabilizing and attracting new investors will be done by decreasing overhead costs and focusing on the key areas of their business. However, quite obviously, getting up from here is certainly going to be very tough.

The broader industry reaction has been that of worry and introspection. ReshaMandi’s case raised questions about the long-term viability of the current startup funding model, especially in sectors that are not as glamorous or immediately profitable as technology. If experts in the industry are to be believed, a more balanced approach in funding—where investors also consider the long-term potential and impact start-ups can have—is warranted rather than short-term gains alone.

The mass layoff at ReshaMandi serves as a rude reminder of the daunting task that confronts startups in their quest for assured and sustained financial support. Though it signals uncertainty—both to the company and the employee—the event brings to the fore the idea of why more robust and supportive mechanisms for investment are needed within the startup ecosystem. Only time will be able to tell if ReshaMandi can ride through such turbulent times and emerge at the other end, stronger still, to continue its mission of transforming the silk industry in India.