The B.C. tech and innovation ecosystem has been rattled by layoffs that began hitting the global industry earlier this year.
Just like giants such as Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT), West Coast tech companies haven’t been immune to cost-cutting efforts amid economic uncertain. Ilya Brotzky, CEO of the VanHack Technologies Inc. recruitment firm, said he expects layoffs in the industry to continue into the new year.
The BIV team is tracking some of the notable layoffs to hit the B.C. tech sector so far this year:
Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE:ZYME) revealed it was cutting its general workforce by 25 per cent. In addition to those layoffs, the Vancouver-based biotech also pledged to let go of half its senior management team. Financial results released the following month showed the company’s losses had grown to US$211.8 million in fiscal 2021 — up US$40 million from a year earlier.
Thinkific Labs Inc. (TSX:THNC) cut its workforce by 20 per cent —100 of its workers — after posting a $26 million loss in its last fiscal year.
Thinkific went public in April 2021, pricing 12.3 million shares at $13 each. Shares had steadily fallen to just under $3 each when the layoffs were announced.
“We've been growing and adding to our team as rapidly as we can to be able to support [growth], especially over the last couple of years, and it got to a point just coming into 2022 as we looked ahead and recognized it was prudent to control costs,” Greg Smith, co-founder and CEO of the online course creation company, told BIV in the days that followed.
Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc. revealed it was letting go of 20 per cent of its workforce — about 50 employees. It was a decision CEO Felicia Bochicchio described as “excruciating” in a LinkedIn post.
She said the layoffs came amid “headwinds we’ve experienced this year, including the current economic environment.”
“As difficult as this decision was to make, it was necessary in order to support Unbounce's purpose and strategy,” Bochicchio said.
Unbounce is best known for developing platforms that allow marketers to create landing pages without having to invest in their own web developers.
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Article (TradeMango Solutions Inc.), best known for selling furniture, laid off 17 per cent of its staff — 216 workers altogether— days after Unbounce announced its own cuts.
“Like many e-commerce companies, we benefited tremendously from the demand increase from COVID,” CEO Aamir Baig said in a statement. “We anticipated the trend to online purchasing would be sustained – that did not happen; and it has since returned to pre-COVID trends.
“As a result, our financial projections showed that we were operating the business at a size larger than current demand would sustain. Put simply, we were living beyond our means.”
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Hootsuite Inc. announced it was cutting its workforce by 30 per cent — a figure amounting to at least 350 workers — in a bid to “refocus our strategies to drive efficiency, growth and financial sustainability,” according to a statement from CEO Tom Keiser.
Best known for its social media management services, Hootsuite’s decision came the week after Unbounce and Article made their cuts.
“We want to be very clear this decision is not a reflection on [former employees] or their work. It is indicative of a change to our business that realigns our strategies with the positions we need to be successful,” Keiser said.
Hootsuite’s layoffs came just over two years after California-based Keiser took over the top job from co-founder Ryan Holmes.
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This article will be updated to reflect significant layoffs hitting the B.C. tech sector. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message twitter.com/reporton if there are layoffs that might have been missed or to report layoffs that have just hit the industry.