Service suspensions, rollbacks, layoffs shake Pakistan’s startup ecosystem

Pakistan on Thursday saw a chaotic day for the startup ecosystem with at least three well-known notable players announcing service deferment, layoffs, and rollbacks.

The startups undergoing service suspension include;

  • Careem
  • Swvl
  • Truck It In

Food Delivery Service suspended by Careem

Citing unstable economic conditions, Careem, the Dubai-headquartered prominent ride-hailing company confirmed the suspension of its food service in Pakistan, on Thursday.
According to an official statement issued by the company, this step will help them in focusing on serving its customers’ needs for ride-hailing and delivery segments instead. It promised to “look to restart the service again” whenever the “economic condition” becomes more favorable.

The official statement, however, didn’t point out exactly which “economic” indicators led the company to suspend its food service. Ride-hailing and (non-food) delivery services will continue like before, according to Careem.

Swvl ‘pausing’ its service in 4 major cities

App-based bus service Swvl on Thursday said it’s putting its service on “pause” in Karachi, Islamabad, Faislabad, and Lahore from June 3 because of the “global economic downturn”.

However, its inter-city buses will continue operating along with Swvl Business, which is its business-to-business segment.

Many Swvl users including students as well as working people took to Twitter to express their dismay at the move, calling it a “massive blow to the white-collar segment of society.”

Layoffs announced by Truck It

Truck It In, another startup based on an online freight management application, on Wednesday said in a blog post on its website that the “global economic uncertainty” is forcing it to “recalibrate” its strategy. Insisting that the company is “wholly committed” to serving truckers and shippers in a “leaner” way, it said some of its colleagues will be moving on to “solve other challenges.”

The company will provide the affected workforce with “generous severance packages” and help find alternate employment opportunities, said the post.

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