The Covid-19 lockdown has affected many businesses, and layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs, pivots and downscaling has become inevitable for many companies in the Indian startup ecosystem.
The ongoing crisis has now forced another firm to let go of its co-founders who played a key role in the startup’s journey so far. Rohit Kumar Pandey and Apurv Anand, two co-founders of diagnostics startup SigTuple, have decided to leave after serving five years at the Bengaluru-based startup.
While Pandey was the CEO of SigTuple, Anand has served in the capacity of CTO and COO in the past three-and-half-years at the firm.
“With a heavy heart, I have to share that Rohit and Apurv are in such a situation now, and have no choice but to relinquish their roles at SigTuple and move on. This was a shock for everyone, most of all me. But given the considered reasons behind it, we couldn’t help but accept their decision,” said Tathagato Rai Dastidar, one of the co-founders of the firm, in his LinkedIn post.
“We also realised that raising growth capital, which we had planned earlier to continue with the momentum, was not possible in the near to medium term. So in a bid to significantly lengthen our runway, we decided to tighten our belt, cut down on expenditure,” he added.
Following their exit, Dastidar once again has taken up the role of CEO of the company. He was the CEO during its first two years of operations but soon after closing its Series A funding round in December 2016, Pandey took over as the CEO to lead the company.
This would be the third instance when a company has lost its co-founder during the ongoing pandemic-triggered downturn. In May, TravelTriangle had relieved its CEO Sankalp Agarwal and CTO Prabhat Gupta (both co-founders) as part of the company’s restructuring. In the same month, Swiggy’s co-founder and CTO Rahul Jaimini too had left the firm to join edtech startup Pesto.
Apart from the exit of the two co-founders, SigTuple also had to close down multiple centres in different cities and let go of people. Dastidar, however, did not mention anything about the layoffs in detail.
He did reveal the future plan for SigTuple and said that it will now venture into microbiology and many other fields. Besides, it is also building the ophthalmological twin of AI101 – a smart retinal imaging, analysis and reporting system.
Launched in 2015, SigTuple has built hardware and software using artificial intelligence technology to digitize pathological tests. Through its artificial intelligence (AI) platform called Manthana, it analyses visual medical data efficiently and works on five major high-volume, screening processes of the healthcare industry – analysis of peripheral blood smears, urine microscopy, semen, fundus, and OCT scans and chest x-rays.
The firm generates revenue by selling the hardware and charging per report. Till date, SigTuple has raised over $40 million in four equity rounds from the likes of Accel Partners, Chiratae Ventures, Pi Ventures and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.