Goldman Sachs-and-Tencent-backed health tech startup Keep fires programmers to keep fit

Keep said businesses that fail to work well will be cut.

China’s body-building app Keep started to downsize its programmers team on Thursday, reported 36Kr, citing two unidentified sources and the company itself.

These two sources told 36Kr that 200 to 300 employees were let go while Keep claimed that 10% to 15% of its 800 staff, indicating 120 at the most, would be finally fired.

Keep said that businesses that fail to work well will be cut, leading to this normal human resources optimization, adding that they will offer reasonable compensation to those affected.

The sources added that Keep had already demanded employees to work overtime shortly before the downsizing, a signal that the startup needed to try hard to survive on its own at a time when investors had turned increasingly prudent.

Keep, which was founded in 2014 by Wang Ning, closed its USD 127 million Series D round in July 2018. The funding round was led by Goldman Sachs and joined by Tencent, GGV, Morningside Capital, and Bertelsmann Asian Investment. That was once the largest fundraising in the health tech sector. But Keep’s valuation has not been publicly disclosed.

Keep, which started as a free body-building app, had gained more than 200 million registered users as of July this year.

To monetize its huge user base, the startup later started to sell merchandise including food designed for body builders, smart bracelets to keep records of indicators such as heart beats, and treadmills.

The company also has 11 brick-and-mortar body-building venues in Beijing and Shanghai.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.