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Exclusive: FrontRow lays off 75% of workforce


MasterClass-esque edtech startup FrontRow has laid off 75% of its workforce, around 130 employees, Entrackr has learnt. The firm will now be left with a barebones team of 40 employees. This comes as yet another blow for workers in the edtech space, as Byju’s announced that it would be firing 2,500 employees on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, it’s also become clear that the business fundamentals were still not working despite our best efforts,” FrontRow co-founder Ishaan Preet Singh said in a statement provided to Entrackr. “[A]s we realized that a sales and marketing led approach to this market didn’t work with our current delivery model, we had to let go a large part of our team.”

This is the second large layoff at FrontRow in recent months; the startup, founded by Mikhil Raj, Shubhadit Sharma and Ishaan Preet Singh, had fired 30% of its workforce in May. FrontRow’s business model revolves around having celebrities teaching courses in their respective fields. Byju’s reportedly piloted something around the same concept earlier this month.

The idea saw investments in the millions of dollars from the likes of actress Deepika Padukone, Elevation Capital, and Lightspeed. Last September, it raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Eight Roads Ventures. That round also saw investments from Ashneer Grover and Kunal Shah.

Funding in edtech startups also plummeted from $5.82 billion in 2021 to $2 billion in 2022 till August 15, according to our data tracking platform Fintrackr. In the past couple of months, there were few sizeable edtech deals such as Sunstone($35 million), Adda247 ($35 million) and Bhanzu ($15 million).

As per data compiled by Fintrackr, edtech accounted for more than 30% of overall layoffs in the Indian startup ecosystem in 2022. The list include Byju’s (Toppr, WhiteHat Jr), Unacademy, Vedantu, LEAD, Eruditus, Frontrow, and Invact Metaversity. This year, Lido, Udayy, SuperLearn and Crejo.Fun shut their operations.

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