Here’s a list, regularly updated, of tech startup layoffs and shutdowns amid the Covid–19 pandemic. It’s not an exhaustive list, and it doesn’t reflect other troubling trends such as furloughs or reduced wages, but hopefully it gives a useful overview of the disruption across the region’s industry.

If you’ve been affected, a group of Southeast Asia VCs has launched a handy talent database where you can add your name as well as browse firms that are actually hiring.

(First published May 8, 2020; Updated September 1 with GoBear’s addition; Updated January 5, 2021 with CoAssets’ CA Financing and GoBear closure)

🪓 Job losses:


Markets: Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines
Layoffs in region: Undisclosed

With the travel industry especially hard hit by the pandemic, major Oyo rival RedDoorz said in early April that it’s laying off “less than 10%” of its workforce across Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, plus furloughing an unspecified further number of staffers.


Markets: Global, Southeast Asia
Layoffs: Undisclosed

Oyo said that its global layoffs would not affect this region, but Technode Global has evidence of a swathe of cuts across Southeast Asia, with a significant portion of those in Indonesia.


Markets: Myanmar
Layoffs: ~65

Myanmar travel startup Flyma cut a third of its 200 staffers in early April.


Markets: China, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam
Layoffs: ~400

Based in Hong Kong, Oriente focuses its financial services on Southeast Asia. Its significant layoffs have occurred in waves during the course of this year, spread across mainland China as well as Southeast Asia.

Oriente secured $50 million in funding in April.


Markets: Indonesia
Layoffs: 33% of unknown total

Pummeled by the travel lockdowns, SweetEscape let go of at least 30% of its workforce in April. We estimate around 50 people lost their jobs. The service helps tourists book professional photographers, and then its own team edits and prettifies the pictures.


Markets: Global, Southeast Asia
Layoffs: 45 + 100 = 145

In April, ecommerce marketplace Zilingo cut nearly 5% of its global team of 900, saying it was not related to the virus. Then on July 10, it announced 12% of its remaining workforce are being let go, which amounts to approximately 100 people. The second wave of job cuts hit marketing, sourcing, and support teams in the US, Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia in a bid to cut costs.


Markets: Southeast Asia
Layoffs: ~50

Netflix arch-rival iFlix announced the layoffs in early April.


Markets: Indonesia
Layoffs: ~100

Affecting 10% of headcount, Traveloka made the move in early April.

Deliveroo, food delivery, food deliveries, riders
Deliveroo Singapore riders pictured in 2018 / Photo: Deliveroo


Markets: Singapore
Layoffs: ~20

In May, food delivery giant Deliveroo axed a quarter of its Singapore team as part of the 15% reduction in staffers worldwide that it commenced a month earlier. Globally, around 370 people are affected.


Markets: Global, Singapore
Layoffs: 300

Travel marketing firm Sojern laid off half its global team in early April, impacting around 300 people. Singapore, its largest Asia office, is badly affected, although no specific tally is available for the city-state.


Markets: Singapore, Philippines
Layoffs: Undisclosed

Another tourism casualty, the startup makes technology for businesses in the travel industry. It has let go of a number of executives, Technode Global has learnt.


Markets: Singapore
Layoffs: Undisclosed

With people unable to go to gyms, the Netflix-for-gyms startup has trimmed an undisclosed number of positions in Singapore.

CT Corp Digital

Markets: Indonesia
Layoffs: Undisclosed

With major corporate clients, this tech-driven business intelligence firm has laid off at least 30 people recently, although CT Corp Digital has not announced anything on the matter.


Markets: Malaysia
Layoffs: Undisclosed

Food delivery should be prospering right now, but Dahmakan, which makes its own food in its kitchens, is layng off an unspecified number of people right now. This comes months after it raised $18 million in series B funding.


Markets: Indonesia
Layoffs: Undisclosed

Indonesia’s lending startup KoinWorks has quietly laid of a number of stuff after its April fundraising worth $20 million.


Markets: Global, Singapore
Layoffs: Unclear

Silicon Valley giant Airbnb announced worldwide layoffs of a quarter of its staff, amounting to 1,900 people, in early May. The number affected in Southeast Asia has not been made clear, but we believe Airbnb’s continental HQ in Singapore has more than 200 employees. It also has Asia offices in Beijing and Seoul.


Markets: Global, Singapore
Layoffs: ~120

Uber’s Asia HQ in Singapore is shutting down, the ride-hailing giant announced on May 19, amid a wave of layoffs and restructuring following the pandemic chaos. Around 120 jobs are affected in Singapore.

Uber opened the Singapore facility in April 2019, one year after it quit Southeast Asia by merging with Grab, to serve as a hub for other markets across Asia where it remains active. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the Asia HQ will move to a nation where it operates, but did not close where that would be.

Globally, Uber is slashing 3,000 jobs and closing 45 offices.

GrabBike, Grab, motorbikes, motorcycles, transportation, Indonesia
A GrabBike rider in Indonesia / Photo: Afif Kusuma


Markets: Southeast Asia
Layoffs: 360

On June 16, Grab announced cuts involving 5% of its workforce, amounting to 360 people across the region. An unspecified number of further people have been reassigned to Grab sectors growing rapidly in the aftermath of the lockdowns, such as deliveries.


Markets: Southeast Asia
Layoffs: 430

On June 24, Gojek followed Grab by announcing it’s laying off 430 people—about 9% of its total workforce—as it shutters two of its app-based services. GoLife, which brought cleaners and masseurs to your home, and GoFood Festival, a network of food courts, are the casualties.


Markets: Southeast Asia
Layoffs: 22

A total of 22 employees at digital finance startup GoBear’s offices in Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, and Ukraine have been laid off, amounting to 11% of its workforce.

☠️ Shutdowns:


Markets: Indonesia
Lifespan: 2015 – 2020

Budget hotel booking app Airy has stated it’ll shutter at the end of May, unable to survive the almost total collapse of the travel industry.


Markets: Indonesia
Lifespan: 2017 – 2020

Stoqo, an online wholesaler serving restaurants, closed down in early May after seeing a drop in revenue that was “too significant, too fast” to handle as many restaurants were forced to shut.

The startup’s series B fundraising process was disrupted by the region’s lockdowns, leaving it with almost no money in the bank.


Markets: Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia
Lifespan: 2015 – 2020

While Hooq’s demise might not be directly linked to the outbreak, the fact that the streaming service was unable to “cover escalating content costs and the continuous operating costs” means it would not likely survive the significant downturn in advertising by brands during the course of this year.

Hooq filed for liquidation on March 27 and then closed on April 30.

A customer uses his EzLink card to access a Smove rental car / Photo: Smove


Markets: Singapore
Lifespan: 2011 – 2020

Car rental app Smove filed for liquidation on May 21, a couple of weeks before Singapore started gradually easing its lockdowns.

Singapore’s government had ordered the startup to shut down its service on April 29 as it was deemed non-essential during the pandemic crisis.

Smove’s outdated statistics (for 2017) on its website, which remains online as we update this information (June 4, 2020), claim it has 450 cars and 50 employees.


Markets: Indonesia
Lifespan: 2014 – 2020

Modeling itself on fast-rising shopping apps like Asos and Boohoo, which challenge H&M and Zara with their own-brand clothing, Sorabel hoped to be a digital retail giant in Indonesia’s fast-growing ecommerce industry. But toward the end of July the startup announced it’ll shut down and go into liquidation on July 30.

Sorabel had 800 staff by mid–2019, including 20 fashion designers.


Markets: Singapore, Southeast Asia
Lifespan: 2015-2020

GoBear announced layoffs in September 2000 due to the effects of the pandemic only a few months after raising $17 million in May 2020 and a partnership with UnionBank of the Philippines in August for lending-as-a-service. The company says it is closing down due the inability to “raise more funds to continue operations” amid the global pandemic. GoBear will have a “phased and controlled” closure over a “short time frame.”

CoAssets / CA Financing

Markets: Singapore
Lifespan: 2013-2020

After financial troubles and a violation of MAS regulations, CoAssets has announced it was shutting down its crowdfunding platform CA Financing. The company is potentially facing legal problems from investors, debt-recovery company Sunfits, and real estate brokerage DWG.