Grocery startup Gorillas has been rocked by allegations of a “toxic culture” as employees labelled their boss “erratic”.
The business, valued at £720 million in March, is facing claims of intimidating staff and putting its riders in danger.
Much of the criticism was directed at chief executive Kağan Sümer, who one ex-worker said would berate employees.
“If we had five delayed orders, he’d send videos of himself swearing and screaming to a WhatsApp group we had,” she told Sifted.
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“It was very intense.”
Another claimed there was “a lot of shouting” and that “people are afraid to show up to meetings” with the chief executive.
Gorillas, which Sümer launched in Berlin in 2020 with co-founder Jörg Kattner, became a billion-dollar “unicorn” in under a year.
Based in Berlin, it started operating in London this March before expanding to Cambridge, Manchester, Nottingham, Reading, and Southampton.
The business also has a presence across most of western Europe.
It comes as Gorillas faces protests from its German riders, who have been left with “chronic back pain” after being given packages weighing over the company’s 10kg limit.
“It’s not just the weight of the packages that is causing this,” one delivery worker complained.
“We’re actually absorbing a lot of shocks from the products, like champagne and beer.”
“They’re using our backs as cheap shock absorbers.”
A Gorillas spokesperson said the startup now splits orders weighing over 10kg between riders.
They also claimed to provide “state-of-the-art equipment including power-saving e-bikes, helmets, all legally required safety equipment and functional clothing”.
The news comes after Brewdog was accused in June of letting “toxic” attitudes fester at the craft beer company.
Ex-employees said executives “exploited” BrewDog’s “fast-paced” reputation to “treat staff however they liked without repercussions”.
Founder James Watt said he would not “contradict or contest” the claims, instead seeking to “listen, learn and act”.