Unfortunately, there are more places he came from last week. After a slew of layoffs last week in tech, this week saw another dose of employee cuts across tech companies. The impact has been felt across industries ranging from education to security, as well as stages from emerging post-Series A to recently established businesses by SPAC.
Below, we’ve listed the most recent companies that have laid off talent in response to the resets occurring across the startup territory. A big shout out to Layoffs.fyi, a tracker that brings tips, affected employee spreadsheets, and other layoff details in one place.
Section4, a skills development startup launched by a distinguished professor at New York University Scott GallowayA quarter of the employees have been laid off, sources say. The layoffs, which occurred last week, affected employees at all levels of seniority and teams, but specifically targeted the majority of the product team. The startup first came onto the scene in 2019 with the goal of scaling up business school-quality courses in an affordable and completely virtual way.
Executive Director Greg Shoof She confirmed the layoffs’ details to TechCrunch via email and said 32 people were affected. The CEO declined to reveal details about what was offered to affected employees, but said the severance package was “on the market or better.” Shoof added that there is no hiring freeze and that the company will continue to hire people for engineering and projects. Part of this hiring focus, he adds, is that the startup is moving faster to serve the enterprise than individual consumers, so hiring will reflect that.
Layoffs are a dramatic way to shift strategies, but they also indicate that a company needs to practice defensive before it can fully pivot. As we’ve been covering news for months, consumer education technology has been overlooking selling to enterprises to avoid revenue volatility (and more stable land contracts).
Carvana, the used car retailer that went public in 2017, laid off 2,500 employees as part of the company’s “previously announced plans to better align staffing and expense levels with sales,” it claims in a filing. According to the report itself, according to Alex Wilhelm, the company offers those who are laid off four weeks of salary plus an additional week for each year they spend at the company. The company claims that the executive team forgoes their salaries for the remainder of the year to contribute to severance payments.
Mobility e-commerce start-up surged on Thursday, after earlier hitting a two-year low. I guess this is how the market responds to people who lose their jobs? short squeeze?
Latch, an enterprise SaaS company that makes keyless entry systems, has been struggling over the past few months — from experiencing a difficult SPAC debut to breaking up with chief financial officer, Garth Mitchell. Well, it appears that business volatility has now passed on to employees, as the public company is reported to have cut 30 people, or 6% of its total staff, according to an email obtained by TechCrunch.
In 2019, DataRobot had just raised $206 million from its Series E round from Sapphire Ventures, Tiger Global Management, and a number of other companies. Then, just weeks after COVID-19 reached the United States, the Boston-based machine learning company conducted layoffs due to “uncertainty.” Fast-forward to the present, DataRobot laid off another 7% of its workforce this week. With around 1,000 employees, these layoffs are estimated to affect about 70 people. In an email to employees obtained by The Information, CEO Dan Wright said the layoffs were in response to changing market conditions after heavy hiring last year (a trend we saw across layoffs last week).
“This level of investment is no longer sustainable for our business, particularly in the context of broader market changes, where investors are now taking a more serious look at efficiency and spending,” he said in the email.
Hiring freeze on Meta, Twitter and Uber
But wait, there’s more… In the wake of inaccurate first-quarter earnings reports, some major tech companies are in trouble.
Let’s start with Meta née Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is all about building the metaverse, having just opened his first brick-and-mortar store. He also outlined what’s coming on the company’s next headset, dubbed “Project Cambria,” which will integrate mixed reality into the headset. But in the first quarter alone, Meta Reality Labs—the VR and AR team—operated at a loss of $2.96 billion, and last year Reality Labs lost more than $10 billion. Meanwhile, Facebook user growth has become relatively stagnant.
Last week, Insider reported that Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Weiner, wrote in an internal memo that hiring will be paused across most engineering teams for the rest of the year, citing an “industry-wide contraction.” Then, this week, Reuters reported that Meta is preparing the cuts in Reality Labs, a bad omen for its growing business. Offers for some job candidates on Meta have been cancelled, according to a viral post on LinkedIn.
Twitter employees are also facing a moment of uncertainty as they await Elon Musk’s impending acquisition. Yesterday, CEO Parag Agrawal – who is expected to be replaced after Musk’s takeover leave – asked two key executives to leave. The company is also subject to hiring freezes, which are common after mergers and acquisitions deals.
“As of this week, we are temporarily halting most hiring and refilling, except for business critical roles. We are also rolling back non-labor costs to ensure our responsibility and efficiency,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Then that brings us to Uber, which is now worth less than it was in mid-2019.
“It is clear that the market is undergoing a seismic shift and we need to respond accordingly,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote. He added, “We will treat hiring as a privilege and will be thoughtful about when and where to add headcount. We will be tighter about costs across the board.”
It is not easy to deal with a pandemic as a company that requires drivers and passengers to sit together in a car. But Khosrowshahi’s note highlighted investor interest in products such as Uber Eats, which distinguishes their service from competitors such as Lyft. However, food delivery is not the most profitable business either.
Unfortunately, it’s usually the workers who get the short end of the stick in these situations, whether they’re technical employees or contract workers.
Khosrowshahi ends his memo with an attempt to be optimistic (?) at a turbulent time.
“Go get him!” He said.