On decktechnician the company that connects founders to each other, capital and boards has gone through another wave of layoffs just three months after laying off a quarter of the staff. Sources say more than 100 people have been affected by the workforce cuts, accounting for half of the entire workforce, while the company, which confirmed the layoff to TechCrunch via email, said 73 full-time employees have been laid off.
Asked about the discrepancy in numbers and whether more people were affected due to other employment status such as contractors, a spokesperson for On Deck said they had no further comment. The company provides all those who leave the company with eight weeks of severance pay, three months of accelerated stock options, and three months of health insurance. Those interested in hiring fired talent can request access to the list of people looking for new roles.
On Deck, not to be confused with the small business lender OnDeck, is a company that provides capital and network support to aspiring fund managers and founders. Launched in June 2019, the company first announced Founders Scholarships and has recently expanded to offer more niche programs in specific verticals.
It was this broad focus that led to the need for downsizing, based on the characterization of the company by co-founders David Booth and Eric Thorenberg. “Over the past two years of explosive growth, On Deck has launched communities that serve over ten thousand founders and professionals. Our team has been working tirelessly to expand and cover a large area.” the duo wrote in a blog posting the dismissal. “However, this broad focus has also caused significant tensions. What we always considered a strength – serving multiple user groups and creating flywheels between them – also undermined our focus and brand.
The startup says it closed several communities and the layoffs affected all levels and all departments; although it stated that no executive was fired, contradicting this statement. On Deck is also spinning off a career development division to “focus on growing learning communities for mid-career professionals looking to accelerate their careers.” The operation will be led by former Community Director Mindaugas Petrutis and will serve the current On Deck Design, Engineering, Data Science, Marketing, Business Development and Sales, Chief of Staff, and No Code communities.
“Allowing our founders and career programs to operate within individual organizations led by people who are very passionate about these communities will allow each team to focus on the needs of their core customers and ultimately lead to better results,” TechCrunch said. in a statement.
A spokesperson says that On Deck’s career development business is “grossly profitable,” so it doesn’t require a lot of additional capital to get going—other than some seed funding the company has already provided. The name of the new company is still in development.
In other words, after serving 10,000 founders to date, On Deck is now solely focused on helping founders in the early stages of scaling. Its other programs, namely those aimed at professional professionals, will be closed or spun off into a new company.
This contrasts with Thorenberg and Booth’s tone during the last firing. In an email obtained by TechCrunch, the co-founders talked about the issues surrounding the newly launched ODX accelerator.
“In 2021, we launched our ODX accelerator. We saw an opportunity to stand up and try our hand at innovation in the stagnant accelerator market. By many estimates, we have achieved this goal,” the email reads. “Unfortunately, over the same period, the market began to change dramatically. In a few months, the capital and accelerator markets were significantly different from where they were when we started. These factors made us reflect and consider how On Deck will continue into the future, support our communities, and ensure long-term sustainability.”
While the accelerator may have needed to scale back, On Deck teased a return to its founder-focused roots in May. The company has relaunched its On Deck Founders platform, which helps founders scale their startups with IRL and virtual coding, and On Deck Scale, a high-growth company founders program to learn how to become better leaders.
Sources calculated that the first round of layoffs came because there were only nine months left on the runway. The startup last raised high-profile venture capital funding in March 2021 in a $20 million Series A round led by Founders Fund.
Now, the startup hasn’t responded if it plans to raise capital anytime soon, but said it’s well enough capitalized to have a runway of more than three years.
Mike Butcher wrote a report for this story.
Credit: techcrunch.com /