The founder and CEO of beleaguered Chinese bike-share startup Ofo has told employees that the company is bleeding cash and must “turn every renminbi into three” to stay afloat.
In an internal letter to employees on Wednesday, Dai Wei said he has repeatedly considered filing for bankruptcy, in part because the company did not “correctly assess the changing external environment from the end of last year.”
Recent droves of users demanding their refunds back are not helping Ofo’s woes. On Monday, a line of more than 100 people formed outside the company’s headquarters in Beijing’s high-tech hub, Zhongguancun.
Ofo’s latest funding round, in March, was led by Alibaba, which invested $343 million for a 12% stake in the startup, giving it a valuation of at least $2.8 billion at the time.
Weeks later, main competitor Mobike was acquired by group-buying giant Meituan-Dianping for $2.7 billion.
By September, Ofo’s daily active-user count had fallen to 3.89 million from 5.1 million earlier in the year.