Influencers cry foul over delayed pay at Trell; 100 more staff leave firm amid troubles

Abstract: About almost 100 employees of Trell have either voluntarily left or been laid off from the company over the last two months.


Another wave of employee departures has occurred at lifestyle social commerce platform Trell due to difficulty paying creators in the country. The company, however, on Monday claimed it has paid all its creators.


The community page of Trell on Instagram had several comments from creators, such as “please clear the pending payments”, prodding the company to pay. Others said Trell is clearing dues of popular creators with a large fan following while ignoring small influencers. Trell was actively deleting these comments.


In August 2020, Trell launched its social commerce section on the app, enabling users to watch personalized product recommendations across beauty, personal care, and wellness categories that they can buy from within the app.


Over 300 employees for the platform have been let go as part of a “right-sizing program”.

“Trell has paid all its creators as per our contractual agreements with them. A certain percentage of creators work via their agencies. Trell has cleared payments with agencies as well,” the company said in a statement. “However, it has come to our notice that certain agencies have been delaying payments. While that is an agency-creator discrepancy, we have been actively working with them to ensure our creators are taken care of and payments are cleared at the earliest…”

“Everyone is facing this issue with them. They owe me more than Rs 30,000 for the promotion I did. As a student, it is a big amount for me,” said one lifestyle influencer who had a year-long contract that ended in March.

The founders — Pulkit Agrawal, Bimal Kartheek Rebba, and Arun Lodhi — were investigated by the forensic team of EY India. The allegations also stalled Trell’s $100 million funding round.