“We have all seen the state of the market,” wrote IRL CEO and co-founder Abraham Shafi in a company-wide memo where the social app announced a drastic staff reduction. Looks like dozens of startups Over the past few weeks, IRL has just announced the layoff of 25% of its team, or about 25 people, citing market dynamics. The cut comes about a year after the startup received a Series C and $170 million led by SoftBank. attained the coveted status of a unicorn.
What differs from recent layoffs is the tone of the company.
“Courage is a decision and we will choose courage,” Shafi wrote in a memo obtained by TechCrunch. “Everything we face today cannot be worse than the uncertainty we faced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Shafi and the IRL did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the layoffs or the memorandum.
However, regardless of the state of the pandemic, layoffs are forcing workers into an unexpected period of instability exacerbated by the looming loss of health insurance.
Despite the decision to cut staff, Shafi wrote that the IRL “has more than enough money to last until 2024”. The startup has grown its headcount by 3.5 times over the past year, but Shafi noted that WhatsApp has been able to grow to 450 million users with a team of 55 people. This suggests that the cut in the workforce was less about trying to shorten the runway and more about getting the team sized right after a period of over-hiring.
“Becoming one of these iconic, influential companies is like winning a gold medal in the Olympics. In fact, probably more of a challenge,” the CEO wrote. “As with the Olympics, we know that most people don’t want to be Olympians. In the same way, not everyone will want to follow the path we are on. But for those who want to push their limits and find out what they are capable of, this culture is for you.”
Throughout the memo, Shafi emphasizes the need for employees to “adapt” and be “disciplined.”
“I have been reflecting on Darwin’s observation that the highest measure of survival for any living organism is not brute strength, but how quickly it can adapt to a changing environment,” Shafi wrote. “This company is a living organism and our ability to adapt to a changing environment is paramount.”
In the future, the IRL will focus on becoming an engineer-led organization, suggesting that the layoffs have affected other teams.
An IRL staffer who spoke to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity confirmed the layoffs and said they “support and respect the move.”
“This shows that SoftBank is taking dutyusually SoftBank companies receive criticized a lot, they said. “financiallyI know that we are doing well, because I heard that we have near $100 million is still in the bank…years and years of the runway.” An employee unaffected by the layoff said the startup has a ton of new features, partnerships and prototypes in the works to create a more meaningful service in the future.
IRL was founded in 2017 to help users find events in the real world, but when the pandemic hit, the platform switched to searching for online events. The company told TechCrunch during Series C that it has 20 million registered users, with a 400% increase over a 15-month period. But some employees told The Information that they I doubt the accuracy from these numbers. It’s unclear if the rise in IRL users played a role in today’s layoffs, but it’s likely a combination of factors, including the current economic downturn that has impacted the tech industry more broadly.
Even though global lockdowns have eased, the IRL remains committed to its new digital strategy and is also giving away money from its Series C to help bring back in-person events. At the same time, IRL was also investing in its integration with TikTok and saw itself as a potential “WeChat in the West“. She later acquired a “digital nutrition” startup. AeBeZe Laboratories with the goal of making their service a “healthier social app”.
While the co-founder cites the macro environment as a reason to adapt, he also talked about how both individual economic hardships and recent tragedies like mass shootings can increase the demand for “the human need to feel connected and close.” what is the mission of the IRL.
“Now our mission is not for the faint of heart. There will be skeptics, critics, hackers, spammers and so on, he continued. “We will succeed if we focus on what we know and what we can control. Not just for us, but for our users around the world.”
Credit: techcrunch.com /