Covid-19 pandemic has the worst impact on the travel and hospitality sector. While the majority of startups in the sector have been contemplating shutdown, mature and deep-pocketed ones have resorted to layoffs, salary cuts and furloughs.
Holiday packages centric marketplace TravelTriangle has been one of the worst hit firms from the pandemic. The company laid off over 250 employees in April and it has now fired 50-60 staff to reduce burn rate and extend the runway.
“TravelTriangle did the third round of layoff early this month. Close to 60 employees were impacted in departments such as operations, marketing and technology,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity. In a separate but surprising turn of events, the ousted founder and former CEO Sankalp Agarwal has rejoined TravelTriangle.
“Agarwal has re-joined the company somewhere in late May or early June after several weeks of his ouster,” said the second source. It’s worth noting that Sanjeev Misra took over as an interim CEO in May citing a board meeting resolution on May 4.
Entrackr had exclusively reported about Agarwal and TravelTriangle’s second co-founder Prabhat Gupta’s exit. While we couldn’t verify the circumstances in which Agarwal has made a comeback at the firm, it looks like the company’s board didn’t object to his rejoining.
According to a report in The Ken, Agarwal re-joined on May 27.
A week before the board’s resolution to oust Agarwal, he approached the National Company Law Tribunal or NCLT to prevent his removal. However, the company cornered the NCLT’s stay order and removed him on May 4. “The company’s board has realised that there is no point in continuing to fight with Aggarwal. Anyway, TravelTriangle’s future is in limbo and investors want to move on from the fiasco,” said the person mentioned above.
Entrackr couldn’t verify whether Gupta also has rejoined or not. Agarwal’s role in the company remains unclear but he’s likely to regain the CEO position. We have sent queries to Agarwal and TravelTriangle backers SAIF Partners and Fundamentum Partners. We will update the post as and when they respond.
The fashion in which Agarwal was ousted and now made a comeback is rare. We have hardly seen such dramatic developments at any growth-stage company in the past three-four years. TravelTriangle is almost a decade old venture and has raised over $47 million across four institutional rounds.
While we aren’t sure what led the company’s board to change their mind, the sequence of events reflect a lack of understanding between the investors and co-founders. Two months ago, SigTuple’s co-founders Rohit Kumar Pandey and Apurv Anand also moved on from the company.
Several people including journalists on social media opined that investors had played a major role in their departure from the diagnostic platform.
Since Agarwal has made a comeback at TravelTriangle and the company is left with a significant portion of its $13 million Series D round raised in November 2019, it would be exciting to watch how he would turn the business around which is already in severe stress due to Covid-19 pandemic.