A month ago, Indonesian app Gojek ($GOJEK) locked down investments from Paypal and Facebook. But that injection of cash wasn’t enough to stop the country’s largest startup from laying off 9% of its staff last week.
Gojek calls itself a “super app,” trying to cater to every possible need you could have from it. Under their large umbrella they have a streaming service like Netflix ($NETFLIX), a food delivery service like UberEats($NYSE:UBER), a payment service like Venmo($NASDAQ:PAYPAL), and a personal massage and cleaning app like… well, I’m not sure what that one’s like. Of course, there’s also their flagship ridesharing service, which resembles Uber. In fact, comparing Gojek to Uber is perhaps the best way to understand the company.
Because much like Uber, Gojek’s job postings have fallen off a cliff. It’s gone from 329 openings in January down to just five. Uber is just starting to recoup some of those openings, but Gojek has hit the valley. That dramatic slowdown in hiring is a huge blow, especially since Gojek has been competing with rival “everything” app Grab (PRIVATE:GRAB) for a long time. Based in Singapore, Grab also faced a recent round of layoffs, shedding 5% of its staff. For reference, Gojek staffed some 4,778 employees before the layoffs while Grab had around 7,200. It’s yet to see if those extra hands on deck will help Grab outlast the dip in business or if more layoffs are on the horizon.
However, unlike some of Uber’s similar apps which have remained powerful brands throughout the pandemic, Facebook talking about counts have actually declined. Apart from a massive spike in May, it seems like Gojek just isn’t being depended on as much as some services are here in the US.
Last week’s layoffs haven’t hit Linkedin yet, where 2,000 users have added Gojek to their profile since January. Taking 420 employees out of that count is still an overall net increase, but it’s a significant step backwards for Gojek — especially if it wants to eventually outsize and outperform Grab with those big new investments.
Gojek’s flagship app, which is wildly more popular on the Google Play store than on the iOS store, has still grown 9% from March, but not at any remarkable pace. And while growth overall is good, Gojek’s layoffs show that this simply isn’t a high enough rate to recoup losses. It will likely need to direct funds to its most profitable ventures in response to recent events, which means thinning down and becoming considerably less super-sized.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.