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Exclusive: Trell lays off almost half of its workforce as funding talks fall through

Influencer led social commerce startup Trell is on the verge of letting go of around 40-50% of its workforce, according to three people aware of the development. 

“Trell is likely to lay off close to 300 people with immediate effect,” said one of the sources on the condition of anonymity. “The company has overall 700 employees with 500 full time.” 

The development has come at a time when the company is reportedly going through an investigation by a forensic team from EY India. According to an ET report, the firm is looking into alleged related party transactions by the company’s founders and other financial irregularities.

“Trell had a term sheet in December for a $100 million round that would have probably given it a valuation of  $700 million. But the round did not materialise,” said another source. The person also requested anonymity as the talks were private.

The fall-out of investment talks has led to this layoff, added sources.

“Trell has set a bad example of runway management. They closed $45 million only 9-10 months back but burnt most of this money within a year,” said the person quoted above. 

According to sources, Trell has had a monthly burn rate of $4-5 million in the past year.

Trell was also in conversations with Amazon and others to raise $50-60 million, as per a Moneycontrol report to go past the $1 billion valuation mark. Sources emphasised that this conversation didn’t move beyond the preliminary stage. The company was valued at around $120 million during $45 million Series B round in July last year.

Trell co-founder Pulkit Agrawal did not respond to queries sent by Entrackr. We have also reached out to the company’s other co-founder  Bimal Kartheek Rebba and its investors including Mirae Asset, KTB Ventures for further information. We’ll update the story in case they respond.

Trell was founded by Agrawal, Rebba, Arun Lodhi and Prashant Sachan. Sachan moved out of the company in mid-2020.

Trell pivoted itself from a community-based platform to a lifestyle-centric short video app and then entered into video commerce model in mid-2021. The company allows users to create videos of their travel and local experiences and share them as a classic slideshow or copyrighted images on other platforms. It monetises its platform via social commerce.

Trell claims to have over 60 million monthly active users (MAU) on the platform and offers content in multiple categories across 12 languages such as Hindi, Tamil, English, among other languages.

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