Report: Pan-African Crypto Exchange Mara Latest Startup to Lay Off Employees

African crypto exchange Mara has not only parted ways with a reported 85% of its staff but has cut the salaries of workers that have remained. Although Mara has cast the layoffs as an exercise which aims to remove redundant roles, former employees have said the startup’s ballooning marketing costs partly explain why it has decided to cut its workforce.

Eliminating Redundant Roles

The pan-African crypto exchange, Mara, has become the latest startup to trim its workforce, and one report suggests that as much as 85% of the firm’s employees have been laid off. In addition, the remaining employees have had their salaries cut.

As has been reported by News, some Africa-based crypto and blockchain firms have similarly sent home a significant number of their respective employees. Many of these startups pointed to the so-called crypto winter as their reason for the reductions.

Mara, which completed a $23 million seed equity round in May 2022, claimed that the layoffs are intended to eliminate “redundant roles to move the company to its next phase.” In a statement, a spokesperson from the company insisted that its plans for the future are still unchanged. The crypto exchange said:

Last year, Mara raised $23M to support our vision to help Africans build wealth. We launched MARA Wallet, which already has over four million verified users. We also launched the Mara Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to accelerating blockchain capacity-building in Africa. We still have plans that go beyond being a crypto exchange and will be announcing them soon. Our mission remains the same – we want to inspire a movement that enables the emergence of 21st-century Africa through universal access to blockchain technology.

While Mara has painted the staff culling as a restructuring exercise, according to former employees quoted in a Technext report, the startup’s bloated workforce and ballooning marketing costs are some of the reasons why Mara has scaled back. As noted by the report, the African crypto exchange kickstarted an Africa-wide public relations campaign which saw Mara sponsor crypto events, a sporting event, and the Ghanaian football team.

Although the crypto startup succeeded in driving up the number of verified users, Mara’s rising overhead costs reportedly forced it initially to warn of possible layoffs. According to the report, Mara, just like its fellow Africa-based crypto entities, has been affected by the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

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