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Singaporean fintech firm GoBear lays off staff due to COVID-19 crisis

The 22 affected employees represent 11% of GoBear’s total workforce.

Singapore-headquartered fintech firm GoBear announced Tuesday it had laid off 22 staff from offices in Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, and Ukraine as a result of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 crisis, representing 11% of its total workforce. Those affected were spread across operations, product, and tech teams.

In an internal memo, CEO Adrian Chng said the company is focused on reducing non-people costs first, with layoffs taken as a last resort. GoBear has reviewed and implemented a number of cost-cutting measures before making this decision, he said, including halting non-essential projects, and reducing fixed costs and software licenses.

“Like many businesses, the repercussions from the current global COVID-19 situation have meant that we have had to take measures to adapt our business to overcome challenges and future-proof it for what lies ahead, by focusing on our growth engines of digital lending and digital insurance brokerage,” Chng said in an official statement. “We are providing full post-employment support to those affected and I want to personally thank them for their contribution to building the business that GoBear is today.”

The firm also said it is providing outgoing employees with support such as severance packages according to local laws and regulations.

GoBear started the year with USD 17 million of new funding in May. In early August, the company also teamed up with Phillipines’ UnionBank to launch a Lending-as-a-Service (LaaS) partnership in that country.

However, the pandemic has dampened the company’s good fortune along with others in Singapore. In June, Grab announced a region-wide layoff of about 5% of its employees. Not long after, its competitor Gojek followed suit by letting go of 430 employees, or roughly 9% of its total staff.