Some tech professionals might describe the first quarter of 2020 as tumultuous, especially those working for startup companies. Whether the current situation is a startup bubble burst or not is up for debate, the fact is that hundreds of tech jobs no longer exist.
These companies laid off employees in Q1 2020
Atrium, the hybrid legal software-law firm startup, shut down production altogether in Q1. The closure impacted around 100 employees and investors, though Atrium did refund part of the $75.5 million capital its founder Justin Kan had secured. Before the company shutdown, Atrium attempted to shift its focus exclusively on its software offerings, but clearly, it wasn’t enough.
Boosted laid off a “significant portion” of its workforce and is seeking a buyer. Electric scooters seem to be popping up in every midsize to large city coast-to-coast, but don’t let that fool you. Keeping these operations up and running in the face of a growing list of municipal e-scooter regulations and intense competition is a tall order. Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow and CTO John Ulmen cited the high costs of developing, producing, and maintaining electric vehicles and “the unplanned challenged with the high expense of the US-China tariff war.”
Despite accumulating a record number of new clients over the past year, freight forwarding startup Flexport laid off 3 percent of its global staff in Q1 2020. The company says they are restructuring to “move faster and with greater clarity and purpose.”
Rideshare giant Lyft laid off 90 of its 5,500+ member workforce in Q1, despite continuous growth. Lyft even plans to hire up to 1,000 new employees throughout 2020. The company said the staff layoffs are part of a restructure and affected marketing and enterprise sales department employees. Lyft said it would also move to a regional vs. city approach to improve efficiency and profitability.
Quora, the popular question and answer startup founded over ten years ago, announced upcoming layoffs in Q1. The company cites “organizational changes” and “scaling the organization in a financially responsible way” as reasons for the job cuts.
23andMe was an early adopter of consumer DNA testing, and on the whole, the sector is doing well. However, increased competition and declining profits led to an 84-person layoff in Q1. The company laid off operations team employees but has not disclosed a specific reason why.
Mozilla had a rough 2019, with more to come in 2020. As an explanation for a round of company layoffs in Q1, Mozilla cited an add-on crisis last May that the company said was “the result of having an interlocking set of complex systems that were not well understood across the relevant teams.” It’s hard to glean exactly what Mozilla meant by this explanation, but they laid off a good portion of their Quality Assurance teams.
Cloud Infrastructure provider DigitalOcean announced a restructuring plan in Q1 that impacted between 30 and 50 people. The company said they decided to conduct layoffs to help DigitalOcean achieve its goal to “accelerate profitable growth by continuing to serve developers and entrepreneurs around the world.”
OYO Hotels & Homes laid off over 5,000 workers around the world in Q1. The company may be among the first to feel a significant impact from the COVID-19 global outbreak. The app-based hotel aggregator laid off most of the impacted workers in hard-hit China, OYO’s second home market. OYO cites the economic impact of COVID-19 as the main reason for its restructuring.
Bike and e-scooter sharing service Lime has expanded to 120 markets worldwide and has raised $777 million from investors. Still, the company laid off 14 percent of its full-time workers in Q1 2020 in the face of low ridership and the challenges of staying compliant with municipal regulations.
The Internet of Things has changed the way companies connect, use data, and conduct business, and Particle was a rising star in the market. The company has raised over $80 million from investors. However, when Particle faced a “turbulent time” last year, the result was a 10 percent workforce reduction.
Person-to-person car rental trailblazer Getaround laid off about a quarter of its employees in Q1 2020. CEO Sam Zaid suggested that parent company SoftBank’s recent challenges impacted the decision.
Autonomous trucking startup Starsky Robotics is still around. Yet, the company laid off the majority of its engineers and office personnel after failing to find a buyer in time to keep operating at full capacity. For now, a few employees remain at the Starsky headquarters. The company is still trying to find a buyer.
Don’t let startup layoffs scare you out of the startup market.
Yes, a lot of companies laid off employees in Q1 2020 and even more startups are likely to conduct layoffs or even shut down in the coming year. Figuring out which startups are worth an application can feel daunting.
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