The international money-transfer service WorldRemit has become the latest fintech unicorn to take an axe to its workforce, as tumbling valuations force founders onto a survival footing.
Sky News has learnt that Zepz has let go scores of employees in recent months in a move that reduced its global employee numbers to approximately 1,000.
News of the redundancies comes just days after Sky News revealed that Breon Corcoran, Zepz’s chief executive, had quit amid fading short-term prospects for an initial public offering of the company.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Zepz said: “In February of this year, Zepz leadership internally shared a strategy to reduce our cost base and seek a stronger degree of financial independence to ensure that we can service our millions of customers around the world sustainably and independently of further external funding.
“Unfortunately, some of those changes impacted a number of roles across the organisation and redundancies were announced.
“These redundancies affected less than 5% of WorldRemit roles globally.”
The company’s human resources team had “conducted a thorough review process to retain as many colleagues as possible in alternative internal roles across the Zepz group”, the statement added.
“WorldRemit today counts over 1,000 permanent employee positions and continues to hire exceptional talent across the world in a newly introduced remote-first employment policy.”
Zepz claimed it had been “ahead of similar moves within the broader economy” by cutting its workforce earlier this year, although a spokeswoman acknowledged that it had made no previous public disclosure of those actions.
In recent weeks, other large fintechs such as Klarna, the buy now pay later platform, have axed significant chunks of their workforce.
Zepz had been preparing to list in the US with a $6bn valuation as soon as this year.
However, the diminishing likelihood of an initial public offering (IPO), with public markets rattled by the war in Ukraine and the possibility of a severe global economic downturn, is said to have been a factor in Mr Corcoran’s exit.
WorldRemit was established in 2009, and has established partnerships with a large number of international banks and mobile network operators.
Last summer, it raised nearly $300m of new funding in a Series E round valuing it at $5bn, according to a public statement at the time.
In 2020, Zepz’s brands – which also include Sendwave – enabled over 4.5m monthly transactions on its platform, generating $338m of revenues, it said.