Helpchat fired 150 employees on Monday, shutting down the chat wing of its business. It also fired another 130 employees from their Delhi office,YourStory sources said, making the number of dismissed employees 280. This is the second round of firing, the first being in last October where about 112 employees were dismissed. Repeated calls and e-mails to Helpchat remain unattended.
The shutdown was confirmed by Helpchat. However, the number of employees fired is yet to be confirmed. The employees removed were a part of chat operations and quality chat team, sources informed YourStory.
The first offering by the firm was a one-month severance package as claimed by sources. But continuous threats from employees via media led to Helpchat settling to pay a three-month severance package along with signing a legal agreement for the same. The severance was paid on Tuesday.
Ankur Singla, Founder and CEO of Helpchat updated on his personal website:
‘The toughest decision of all was the decision of our chat operation team. The decision was to let go of most of our chat colleagues. We looked at the retention cohorts or uninstall cohorts for all our chat users but they were always much worse than others. This was the only way.’
On the package decision, he added:
‘We gave a three-month severance package to the fired employees and will try our best to help them find new jobs. I’m working with our HR team. We have already found placements in 12 startups and big companies.’
However, the discharged employees have something else to say, “Helpchat has not helped us find placements.” one of the fired employees claimed.
“The decision came out all of a sudden as after the last round of firing, we were assured that our jobs are secure.”
Helpchat ceased all marketing efforts to rebuild itself, Ankur stated in a n interview with YourStory. The company adopted an anti-chat thesis and launched the latest version of the product in January.
Ankur also said, “We came to the conclusion that it takes less time for a person to complete a transaction online by clicking things than to do it vis chat. We never used the app ourselves.”
The company has seen many changes in the past year. It pivoted from a complaint-resolution platform called ‘Akosha‘ to a chat-based assistant last march and transformed into a transaction-cased company.
Media reports stated that Akosha (Helpchat) was accused of being a cloning app of Haptik which is another instant messaging personal assistant.
Rs 100 crore Series-B funding was secured by Helpchat last May, from Sequoia Capital and Runet and they were having roughly 50,000 chat sessions a day by July.
Following the sudden firing round, sources report that over 70% of the dismissed employees were contracted employees and consultants in brand management, who worked from home on a monthly payment basis.