January 17, 2021

Twitter lays off India engineering team

Twitter is shutting its engineering operations in Bengaluru, a move that’s likely to impact around 60 employees, most of who came on board after it acquired mobile marketing platform ZipDial for $35 million some 18 months ago.
The microblogging platform’s Bengaluru operations — its second engineering centre after the US — was seen as an anchor for developing products targeted at India and other emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
“Over the past 18 months, we have incorporated the technology and talent of our ZipDial acquisition across our company. As part of our normal business review, we have decided to stop the global engineering work at the Bangalore development centre. We thank the impacted individuals for their valuable contributions and are doing as much as we can to provide them a respectful exit from our company,” said a Twitter India statement.
Twitter declined to disclose the number of employees impacted. But sources told TOI that the company said it will continue to maintain a presence in India for its sales and media functions. “We are hiring for other positions in our offices across India and the job listings can be found,” it said. The company has an overall strength of about 100 in India.
ZipDial founders Valerie Wagoner and Amiya Pathak, who was former CEO of Reliance’s gaming venture Zapak, are directors in Twitter. Wagoner is now based out of the US. ZipDial allowed users to engage with brands by giving a missed call to a designated phone number. The caller will then begin receiving content on their phone in real time through voice, SMS or an app notification. With increasing penetration of smartphones, the missed call phenomenon became less and less relevant.
However, Twitter said its efforts to localize to Indian sensibilities will continue. In India, it has localized content to a great extent. It has launched an e-governance partnership with the Uttar Pradesh State Police to use Twitter as a customer service channel. It has also created special Twitter emojis for Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, and International Day of Yoga.
Twitter has been facing flak from investors for its lacklustre user growth. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who returned to head the company last year in an attempt to turnaround its fortunes and take on the challenge from the likes of Snapchat, had then said that there would be significant structural changes in the product and engineering teams.
“We feel strongly that engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team,” he had then said. At that point, 336 employees (8% of its employee strength) was to be laid off.