Robot delivery company Starship Technologies made a large number of redundancies last week after feeling the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, website DigiPRO reported.
According to sources, employees were summoned in groups, a presentation was given and then redundancies were announced. The company employs over 260 people but did not confirm how many employees it had dismissed.
A spokesperson told ERR News that more than 200 members of the team were still employed worldwide.
A comment sent to ERR News by the spokesperson from Lex Bayer, CEO of the company said: "Starship, like so many businesses across multiple industries around the world, has been impacted by the unprecedented situation presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. In this current climate, businesses have had to make some very difficult decisions in order to make their operations leaner.
"Starship has, unfortunately, had to take measures to streamline services as we've seen some of our partners across university campuses close temporarily.
"While we are continuing to deliver to the limited number of students and the wider community that have remained on campuses and do all we can to provide a vital service for them at this time, the prudent thing to do is to focus our efforts now on our grocery delivery service in local neighbourhoods.
"In so doing, our plan is to deploy resources to focus on delivering groceries in neighborhoods just like we did in our recent expansion in Milton Keynes, UK, where we are also now offering free delivery to NHS (National Health Service) workers. We have experienced a big uptick for neighborhood grocery deliveries in recent weeks as people are spending more time at home in the current climate.
"In some ways, it is true to say that services such as Starship's have never been more needed to help local communities get access to the things they need. We are doing all we can to get the right services and support in the right places at the right time to support our partners and customers now and in the future.
"As we temporarily move our focus away from college campuses at this time, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the team members who have been impacted by the changes we have unfortunately had to make as a result of the exceptional circumstances we now find ourselves in."
In total, Starship has raised over € 76 million from investors making it one of the most successful Estonian startups, only Bolt and Wolt have been more successful, the website wrote.
* This article was updated to add a longer quote from Lex Bayer.
Editor: Helen Wright