The hiring party is over. As the funding environment gets tough, start-ups such as Vedantu, upGrad and Curefit have pulled back or deferred on-campus recruitment offers. 

Most college placement drives got completed between October and February when the investor sentiment towards start-ups was still at a record high. But with funding momentum slowing down due to the market downturn, recruitment offers for sales, marketing and technology roles have been majorly impacted, according to an industry source who works closely with educational institutions. 

“There are several cases where we are seeing placement offers being either pulled back or deferred. In the past two years, tech companies raised huge amounts of capital, and grew at exponential rates. In cases where a company could do with a 50-member sales team, they hired 200 people. Now with the market downturn, start-ups are falling short on their promises to hire huge teams,” the source told BusinessLine. 

Several graduates from top-tier institutions, such as the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and Delhi Technological University, have put up social-media posts stating that health and fitness unicorn Curefit has deferred campus placement offers by six months (the new joining date is January 2023).  

These students were offered Software Development Engineer positions at Curefit in July 2021. As a result of already being placed, they were not allowed to sit for other placement interviews and are now left with zero offers. According to one such social-media post, Curefit informed students about the deferred joining date about a week back.

“Due to severe effect on all companies, notably healthcare, on-campus recruiting from throughout India has been postponed for six months with no promise of FTE conversion in the near future,” the notification sent to students read. 

According to the source quoted above, this trend of pulling back or deferring campus placement offers is being seen across industries, including edtech, traditional IT companies, healthtech, and logistics. In the past few months, over 3,500 employees have been laid off across multiple start-ups, including unicorns such as Vedantu, Unacademy, Cars24, Meesho, and MPL, among others. 

Vedantu’s response

“Vedantu has always been committed towards onboarding the best talent but we have not been a part of any campus placement drives between Oct 2021 and Feb 2022, and no placement offers have been pulled back in this regard,” said a Vedantu spokesperson.

upGrad did not respond to queries, while Curefit declined to comment.

Funding slowdown has hit start-ups across stages, whether it is growth-stage companies not being able to raise new funding, or early-stage start-ups who have to settle for lower than expected valuations and fund sizes. According to data shared by Tracxn, in Q2 CY22 year-to-date (April 1 to May 24), Indian start-ups have raised $3.6 billion in venture capital rounds as compared to $9.7 billion in Q1 CY22 and $14.2 billion in Q4 CY21.