GoPuff founders Yakir Gola, left, and Rafael Ilishayev. Photos by Getty, Bloomberg.
May 10, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

Delivery firm Gopuff emerged as one of the hits of the pandemic shutdowns, fetching a $15 billion valuation thanks to its network of couriers delivering snacks and convenience items like chips, Tylenol and laundry detergent. But in recent months, its 29-year-old founders have faced mounting setbacks.

Last fall, discussions led by the founders about raising up to $1 billion in new funding fizzled after some investors balked at Gopuff’s cash burn, according to two people familiar with the efforts. Since then, they’ve overseen two rounds of layoffs totaling hundreds of workers. Earlier this year, Gopuff instituted a temporary hiring freeze for employees and also shuttered a fledgling pharmacy delivery business, say people familiar with those efforts. And they’ve lost several executives recruited from tech companies like Facebook and Airbnb to modernize their e-commerce software and build a new advertising business.

That upheaval has raised questions among some employees about the leadership abilities of co-CEOs Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev. At an all-hands meeting for the product and engineering teams in early April to address the past month’s layoffs—a meeting from which Gola and Ilishayev were absent—one employee asked whether the founders were still fit to helm the company, given what that employee said was a lack of business experience, according to a recording reviewed by The Information and a person briefed on the matter.

Gopuff’s head of engineering, Rekha Singh, responded with her own thoughts on their experience level. “They may not have it,” she conceded, though she credited the founders for hiring other experienced leaders and gave them a vote of confidence.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
The Weekend Startups AI
The Shaky Mental State of Silicon Valley
The Shaky Mental State of Silicon Valley
Hi, welcome to your Weekend! Next month, when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors reconvenes after its summer recess, one of the matters up for discussion will be a resolution to decriminalize the use of psychedelics. While San Franciscans have never needed Board approval to partake in the wonders of nature, you can bet plenty of tech workers around town will be rooting for a yay...
Latest Briefs
 
Peloton Announces Job Cuts, Store Closures and Price Hikes
South Korea’s Mirae Asset Management Led $250 million SpaceX Investment
Founder of Crypto Exchange Houbi in Talks to Sell Stake for $1 Billion
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Josh Brill
Exclusive Asia Startups
TikTok’s $4 Billion Advertising Machine Is Messy Behind the Scenes
Two years ago, social media sensation TikTok came up with a slogan to prod brands to be more authentic in their advertisements on the app: “Don’t Make Ads.
Viral Patel, global head of technology investing for Blackstone Credit. Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Blackstone Plans to Back Tech Startups in $2 Billion–Plus Lending Push
Private equity giant Blackstone is gearing up to make its first major push into lending to startups and technology companies—joining a corner of the debt market that’s quickly heating up.
Art by Clark Miller.
Venture Capital Startups
Venture Capital’s Limited Partners Warn of Fundraising Slowdown
The era of easy money could be over for venture capital firms. Although VC fundraising has so far matched last year’s brisk pace, limited partners—the people and institutions that invest in VC funds—say a slowdown is afoot.
Photo by Alaska Air Group.
Facebook
For Meta’s Next CFO Susan Li, Metaverse Dreams Mean Real-World Challenges
When Meta Platforms reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline last month, the Facebook parent company also made a key promotion with little fanfare: 36-year-old finance executive Susan Li would become chief financial officer in the fall, replacing longtime CFO Dave Wehner, who held the role for eight years and would transition to a strategy role.
Enterprise Power List Venture Capital Enterprise
Introducing The Information’s Enterprise Tech Power List
The biggest battle in tech is happening where most consumers can’t see it: the cloud. And a new cast of executives and investors are increasingly calling the shots—making decisions about the future of the battle with trillions of dollars at stake.
Data Point Amazon Markets
Why Amazon Is Giving Employees Record Amounts of Stock, Even as It Trims Head Count
At a moment when Amazon’s overall workforce is shrinking, the company is awarding stock to employees at a record-breaking clip to keep top talent from heading for the exits.