The tech company layoffs have hit Europe. Several of Europe's best-known startups have made drastic cuts to their teams in order to cut costs and preserve their cash runway as the global economy takes a downturn.
Tech stocks have crashed on public markets, and private company valuations have taken a hit as a result. Investors are writing cheques more cautiously, while urging their portfolio companies to preserve cash. Consumers are also beginning to watch their pennies, putting B2C startups in an especially tight position.
That means it's an unfortunate time to be out raising funding — and particularly bad timing if you're a scaleup with a big monthly burn rate.
The tech company layoffs started with the likes of fintech giant Klarna, speedy grocery poster child Gorillas, online events platform Hopin and digital health company Kry. They've since spread rapidly across sectors.
Here, we list the layoffs that we know of — and hope that this helps hiring managers at other startups know where to look for new talent.
Tech company layoffs: European startups letting employees go
- MessageBird, the Dutch communications platform, let go of around 31% of employees. It attributed the cuts to growing the team too quickly, and not integrating acquisitions efficiently enough.
- Forto, the German logistics unicorn, laid off 10% of staff.
- Pleo, which provides expense management and company cards for business spending, is putting 15% of its workforce at risk of layoffs, amounting to up to 150 jobs. Its CEO and cofounder Jeppe Rindom announced the cuts in a LinkedIn post, saying that they came after the company set out its strategy for the upcoming year.
- Wayflyer, which provides financing for ecommerce companies and achieved unicorn status earlier this year, laid off 40% of its global workforce. Around 200 jobs will be affected, which includes 70 in the Irish startup's Dublin HQ. The founders said that the cuts come as a result of the company scaling too quickly over the past 15 months.
- Planetly, a Berlin-based carbon accounting startup, was shut down by its US-based acquirers, letting all 200 employees go. The company was acquired by software company OneTrust last year.
- InFarm, a German vertical farming company, made up to 50% of its workforce redundant. It said that following the cuts, it hopes to become financially self-sustaining within 18 months. It comes after the company let 50 employees go back in September.
- Back Market, a French marketplace for refurbished gadgets and the country’s most valuable startup, confirmed to Sifted that it’s laid off 13% of its staff across all teams: 67 people in France and 26 in other countries. In January 2022, the company raised $510m at a $5.7bn valuation.
- Dance, a Berlin-based e-bike subscription service, let 16% of its workforce go. The founder, Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, shared the news in a LinkedIn post after informing employees, saying the decision was made in light of the company's "cost-conscious approach" to the future.
- Arrival, the electric vehicle startup, announced a restructure to focus more on the US market, putting hundreds of UK employees at risk of being cut as a result. It came after the company lay off 800 people in July, and then let 35 people in its Charlotte, US office go in August, which amounted to about 38% of the region's workforce.
- Kry, the digital health provider, announced that it would be letting 10% of its workforce of about 3,000 people go. In May earlier this year, the company also let go of 100 employees.
- Cazoo, the secondhand online car retailer, reduced its employee headcount by 15% back in June, affecting around 750 jobs. It also froze hiring for “non-essential roles”, according to an investor presentation seen by Sifted. Earlier this month, it relocated out of the EU and extended the total number of people laid off in 2022 to 1500.
- Made.com, the furniture retailer, has put itself up for sale and is looking to make 35% of its workforce redundant by the end of October — more than 200 jobs could be affected. The company cited factors like a decline in consumers shopping for furniture and supply chain instability, which led to the need to trim back and potentially sell.
- Klarna, the buy now, pay later giant, planned to lay off 10% of its global workforce back in May. The majority of roles affected were based in Stockholm, Sifted analysis showed, while when it comes to departments, the talent acquisition and engineering teams were hardest hit. This month, it announced a second round of planned cuts, telling Sifted that fewer than 100 employees would be affected globally.
- Juni, the Swedish neobank for ecommerce, laid off around 10% of its employees at the end of September — just three months after raising a $206m Series B. “Our workforce has grown exponentially this year and due to a shift in business priorities alongside the current economic climate, we have made the difficult decision to make a few internal roles redundant," a spokesperson told Sifted, adding that the company is providing compensation packages to employees that are laid off.In November, the fintech's cofounders announced they are upping layoffs at the company to a third of all staff. "Our decision to re-evaluate our organisational structure and operational model is a proactive one that ensures we are best positioned to face any challenge that this broader macroeconomic context might bring in the future," cofounders Samir El-Sabini and Anders Orsedal wrote in a post on LinkedIn. "Our strategic goals remain unchanged."
- Pitch, the Berlin-based startup creating Google Slides and PowerPoint alternatives, announced it would be laying off 30% of its staff, affecting 59 employees. The company said it would pay laid-off employees’ salaries until the end of 2022, their shares would also continue to vest until the end of 2022 and they'd be able to keep them post-layoff.
- Clearco, the Canadian HQ’d and best-funded revenue-based financing startup active in Europe, made 25% of its global staff redundant, its founders announced in a memo on LinkedIn. They also said the company would be looking at “strategic options” for its international operations. It came after the company made 10% of its staff in its EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) hub in Dublin redundant in June.
- Babylon, the UK healthtech app that provides easy access to GPs, physiotherapists, nurses and pharmacists, planned to cut 100 jobs across its global workforce. The layoffs came as the company planned to reduce costs by up to $100m during the third quarter of 2022.
- Seller X, an Amazon aggregator based in Berlin, cut 28 jobs.
- Zego, a commercial motor insurance provider, announced it was laying off 17% of its staff.
- Hopin, the once extremely highly valued online events platform, let 138 employees go in February (12% of its staff). The company let a further 29% of its workforce go in July — amounting to 242 people. And in November, it laid off another 17% of staff in a third round of layoffs.
- Getir, the grandad of the fast grocery delivery sector, cut around 14% of its staff globally — about 4,500 roles.
- Nuri, the Berlin-based digital bank, announced it was letting go of part of its team. The company told Sifted that 45 employees would be affected, equalling 20% of its workforce. CEO Kristina Walcker-Mayer said in a blog post that the business needed “to shift our strategic plans towards earlier profitability to adapt to the new reality in the financial markets”. The company then filed for insolvency in August.
- Freetrade, the London HQ’d trading platform, made 15% of its staff redundant. Its CEO Adam Dodds told staff about the plans at an all-hands meeting. The company told Sifted that employees were offered the chance to take voluntary redundancy, “in a bid to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies that may be required.”
- Curve, the London-based digital wallet aggregator, made between 60 and 70 people redundant — but it wouldn’t disclose what percentage of its employees this was. According to LinkedIn data, Curve’s headcount was 425 people, meaning this could represent up to 10% of its workforce. CEO Shachar Bialick told Sifted that the company made the decision to cut the roles “with the aim of putting us in the best possible position for growth in the second half of the year.”
- Bitpanda, the crypto trading platform, laid off around a third of its staff, as it looked to extend runway to weather the crypto winter. The company said it reduced its headcount to a target of 730 people — Sifted understood that its headcount was 1100, meaning the layoffs represented 34% of staff. Bitpanda’s three cofounders told employees: “We need to make fundamental changes in how we operate and sharpen our focus by getting back to the basics, prioritising safety and compliance, user experience, education and community, while deprioritising everything else.”
- Voi, the scooter startup, let go of 10% of the employees from its Stockholm headquarters — about 35 people.
- Zapp, the speedy grocery delivery startup, told staff in an email seen by Sifted that 10% of its team was facing redundancy. The email cited increased inflation, the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruption as factors behind the layoffs. Zapp confirmed the situation to Sifted.
- Gorillas, the fast grocery delivery startup, let around 300 employees go from its Berlin headquarters.
- Uncapped, the revenue-based financing startup, made 29 of its staff redundant — 26% of its total headcount. Most of the roles cut were product engineers, the company told Sifted.
Our list of tech company layoffs in Europe will be regularly updated. If you work at a company that announces layoffs, please let us know. This article was last updated on January 30 2023.
Tech companies still hiring in Europe
Not all startups have been so badly affected by the global downturn, however. These companies are still hiring for plenty of roles.
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