Hello and welcome Back to our regular morning view of private companies, public markets and the gray areas in between.
Today we take stock of what happens to a number of public and private unicorns. This is the third time we've sat down to document what feels like a wave of unicorn cuts that Airbnb limited in this case Decision to cut around a quarter of the global workforce (25.3% according to the figures given).
Airbnb's cuts follow recent excisions at Lime, Oyo, and others. In particular, the cuts do not only end up among the most famous unicorns. In fact, Crunchbase News (n.B. I was once editor-in-chief) wrote a few weeks ago that 36 unicorns had cut known 8,416 jobs, according to a layoff tracker.
The numbers are now significantly higher if we just add Airbnb's cuts. If you look at the same database this morning, the cutbacks in late stage startups since the previous count were made include cutbacks in Swiggy, Deliveroo, Sisense, Magic Leap, DesktopMetal, Cohesity and others.
theinformationsuperhighway covered a wave of unicorn layoffs for the first time at the start as companies supported by SoftBank's Vision Fund quickly tried to cut costs and approach profitability. Suddenly, her chief supporter, formerly the most aggressive pool of private capital in the world, withdrew and it was time to close the hatches.
However, these cuts felt less driven by a unicorn-wide problem than by neighborhoods of overly forgiving self-enlargement by a number of companies that remained in the red as useful.
The second wave of unicorn layoffs came in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-known companies such as Bird, ZipRecruiter, GetAround, Sonder, TripActions and others have cut staff because the economy changed rapidly when cities and states asked regular people to stay home.
This post, which was published at the end of March, looks almost as if we had published it too early in retrospect. It came before Toast drastically cut staff or BounceX layoffs. In other words, the trend we've been talking about has just started.
So let's talk about what has happened about the state of unicorn activity since our check-in on March 30th and why we are now in the third wave of unicorn cuts this year.