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Amid unprecedented growth on its platform, Acorns cuts roles and shuts down an office

Acorns, which helps millions of people invest their spare change in the stock market, has laid off between 50 to 70 people, TechCrunch has learned from multiple sources.The Irvine, Calif.-based company would not confirm the total number of people laid off, but did confirm that there were cuts at the company as a result of broader business changes.The news emerged days after the fintech company closed its Portland office earlier this week, one of four offices the company maintained. While Acorns offered Portland employees an opportunity to relocate to its Irvine headquarters, some roles were terminated as part of the relocation, the company said. Employees laid off largely were members of Acorns’ support team. And the internal cuts are related to an external partnership with TaskUs, which out-sources customer care and support needs for other businesses. Acorns will bring on roughly 80 new TaskUs support roles in the next year, which the company said would grow its support team, just not…

Indian online grocery startup BigBasket raises $60M

Indian grocery startup BigBasket has raised $60 million as it scales its business in the country to meet growing demand from customers stuck at home.

Alibaba and other existing investors including Mirae Asset and CDC Group participated in the bridge-round, Vipul Parekh, co-founder of BigBasket, told TechCrunch in an interview. Parekh said the startup intends to close a larger financing round in the next six to nine months.

The eight-year-old startup, which attained the unicorn status last year, has raised about $720 million in venture capital and debt financing to date, according to CBInsights. Indian news outlet Entrackr first signaled the bridge-round.

Parekh said the startup is aggressively trying to hire more delivery personnel to service the ever growing demand from customers. New Delhi ordered a nation-wide lockdown last month, which has disrupted several businesses.

The volume of orders on BigBasket has surged by up to five times in recent weeks, said Parekh. But the startup is struggling to find enough people to deliver items to customers as many workers have moved to their hometowns or are cautious about working in the current environment, he said.

In the last one week, BigBasket has partnered with Uber and two-wheeler mobility firm Rapido to deliver groceries in parts of India. The startup, like several others, faced severe challenges last month after the 21-day lockdown was enforced as it worked with local state authorities to continue its delivery operations. At one time, it had over 400,000 inventories that it needed to ship but was sitting in its warehouses.

BigBasket operates in more than two dozen cities in India and offers tens of thousands of grocery products to customers. As far as securing inventories is concerned, Parekh said the startup is currently not seeing any issues.

BigBasket’s rival, SoftBank-backed Grofers has also seen a surge in volume of orders. The startup said this week that it delivered in 1 million homes in three weeks.

But despite the growth, Grofers co-founder and chief executive Albinder Dhindsa said online grocery still accounts for only 0.2% of the overall retail market. “I think at the end of this crisis we will probably reach 0.5%, but that is still an insignificant share,” he said.

Several startups in India have expanded to grocery category in recent weeks to serve more customers and compensate for the hit their core businesses have taken in recent weeks.



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