Sadly, there’s more where last week came from. After last week’s massive layoffs in the tech sector, this week saw another dose of staff cuts at tech companies. The impact was felt across industries ranging from education to security, as well as stages from a post-Series A startup to a recent SPAC company.
Below, we’ve listed the latest companies that have laid off talent in response to the reset happening in start-up land. Big shout out to fired.fyia tracker that collects tips, spreadsheets of affected employees and other layoff details in one place.
Section 4an up-skilling startup launched by prominent NYU professor Scott GallowayAccording to sources, a quarter of the workforce has been laid off. The layoffs, which happened last week, impacted workers at all levels of seniority and teams, but specifically targeted a majority of the product team. The startup first hit the market in 2019 with the goal of scaling business school-quality courses in a more affordable and fully virtual way.
Director Greg Shove confirmed layoff details to businesstraverse.com via email and said 32 people were affected. The director declined to release details about the impact of the offer on employees, but said the severance package was “on the market or better”. Shove added that there will be no hiring freeze and that the company will continue to employ people in engineering and business. Part of that focus on hiring, he adds, is that the startup is serving the enterprise faster than individual consumers, so hiring will reflect that.
Layoffs are a dramatic way to change strategies, but also indicate that the company must defend itself before it can fully run. As we’ve been telling for months, consumer edtech flirts with corporate sales to avoid earnings volatility (and get more tacky contracts).
Carvana, a used car salesman that went public in 2017, has laid off 2,500 employees as part of the company’s “previously announced plans to better align staff and cost levels with sales volumes”. in a file. According to the same filing, Alex Wilhelm reports, the company will offer the layoffs four weeks’ pay plus an extra week for each year they’ve been with the company. The company claims that the executive team will stop paying salary for the rest of the year to contribute to the severance package.
The e-commerce mobility startup rose Thursday, after previously hitting a two-year low. I think that’s the way the market reacts to people losing their jobs? A short squeeze?
Latch, an enterprise SaaS company that makes keyless entry systems, has struggled in recent months — from experiencing a difficult SPAC debut to saying goodbye to its CFO, Garth Mitchell. Well, it looks like corporate volatility has now trickled down to employees, with the public company reportedly firing 30 people, or 6% of its total workforce, via email obtained by businesstraverse.com.
In 2019, DataRobot had just raised a $206 million Series E round from Sapphire Ventures, Tiger Global Management, and a number of other companies. Then, just weeks after COVID-19 arrived in the US, the Boston-based machine learning company made layoffs because of “insecurity† Fast-forward to the present, DataRobot laid off another 7% of its staff this week. With about 1,000 employees, these layoffs are estimated to affect about 70 people. In an email to staff obtained by: The informationCEO Dan Wright said the layoffs were a response to changing market conditions following aggressive hiring last year (a trend we saw in layoffs last week).
“That level of investment is no longer sustainable for our business, especially in the context of broader changes in the market, with investors now looking more closely at efficiency and spending,” he said in the email.
Meta, Twitter and Uber employee shutdowns
But wait, there’s more… On the heels of questionable first quarter earnings reports, some major tech companies are in trouble.
Let’s start with Meta née Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is all in on building the metaverse, having just opened his first brick and mortar store. He also just demonstrated what’s coming on the company’s next headset, called “Project Cambria”, which will incorporate mixed reality into the headset. But in the first quarter alone, Meta’s Reality Labs – the VR and AR team – was operating at a loss of $2.96 billion, and last year Reality Labs lost over $10 billion† Meanwhile, Facebook’s user growth has been relatively stagnant.
Last week, Insider reported Facebook CFO David Wehner wrote in an internal memo that hiring for most tech teams will be halted for the rest of the year, citing an “industry-wide downturn.” Then, this week, Reuters reported that Meta is preparing cuts in Reality Labs, bodes ill for its… burgeoning metaverse business. The offer of some candidates for jobs at Meta has been withdrawn per ac viral LinkedIn post†
Twitter employees are also facing a moment of uncertainty as they await the impending acquisition of Elon Musk. Yesterday, CEO Parag Agrawal – who is expected to be replaced after Musk’s acquisition is approved – asked two key executives to leave. The company is also undergoing a staff freeze, which is not uncommon after mergers and acquisitions.
“Starting this week, we will be pausing most hires and additions, except for mission-critical positions. We are also reducing non-labor costs to ensure we are responsible and efficient,” a Twitter spokesperson told businesstraverse.com.
And then we come to Uber, which is now valued lower than mid-2019.
“It is clear that the market is experiencing a seismic shift and we need to respond accordingly,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote† He added: “We will view hiring as a privilege and make informed decisions about when and where to add staff. We will be even more hardcore about cost across the board.”
It’s not easy navigating the pandemic as a company that requires drivers and passengers to sit in a car together. But Khosrowshahi’s note highlighted investor interest in products like Uber Eats, which differentiate their service from competitors like Lyft. Still, food delivery isn’t the most profitable business either.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the employees who have the short straw in these situations, whether they’re technical personnel or hired gig workers.
Khosrowshahi ended his note with an attempt at optimism (?) in a turbulent time.
“GO GET IT!” he said.