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London Tech Week

Tech layoffs: These startups are cutting staff as the recession nears

Bolt team
Image credits: Bolt

2021 was the year of hiring and funding boom. But now with the predicted recession, Ukraine war and several unprecedented situations,  technology startups have started to lay off workers to conserve cash. In the past month alone, more than 2,000 employees have lost their jobs at half a dozen startups have cut off staff globally. Making this evident, tech giants such as Meta, Nelfix, Uber, PayPal and more announced layoffs and froze hiring people in the last few months.

Apparently, 2022 has been a challenging year for the startup ecosystem. These have resulted in major seismic shifts in the tech ecosystem. While we despise creating this list, hesitantly, TFN is creating a list of tech startups and unicorns that have been laying off staff recently.


The Swedish buy now, pay later (BNPL) unicorn Klarna announced its plans to let go of 10% of its team worldwide. Notably, it has been revealed that the company plans to cut an estimated 700 roles (10% of its workforce) due to a souring economic climate. This was revealed by Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski to their staff in a pre-recorded video. In a stark contrast, other fintech unicorns such as Revolut, Wise, and N26 are either actively hiring or not in plans to reduce their headcount.


London-headquartered Hopin, a virtual events platform that has been applauded for its rapid growth amidst the pandemic, has confirmed to let go of 138 employees, which will be 12% of its workforce. It is reported that employees impacted by the layoff will receive three months of compensation, and retain their laptops and health benefits.


Another company to announce layoff plans amidst the broader economic slowdown is Lacework from the US. The well-funded cloud security firm has not revealed any word regarding the number of employees who will be impacted but reports show that it has over 1,000 employees. Reportedly, the company will slash 20% of its employees in an attempt to restructure their business.


Berlin-based digital bank, Nuri, recently announced that it is laying off a part of its team. The company’s CEO Kristina Walcker-Mayer took to a blog post to share that they will let go a part of the team in order to ensure long-term success during a massively changing external environment. She stated that it was the hardest decision in Nuri’s journey so far. Reportedly, the company will lay off 45 employees, which is 20% of its team.


Indian edtech unicorn Vendatu joined the list of companies that are laying off staff. The company fired 424 employees (nearly 7%), including both full-time and contractual. Vedantu took this move as it looks forward to increasing its capital runway. Prior to this, the company laid off 200 staff members, which accounts to a total of 624 employees.


Bolt, a checkout and shopper network startup based in San Francisco is also laying off a part of its team. Recently, Maju Kuruvilla, the CEO of Bolt took shared the announcement with their employees via a blog post. He added that as a part of several structural changes, Bolt is reducing the size of its team. It was mentioned that they are in plans to lay off 200 employees, which is 30% of their workforce. Back in November 2021, the company was in the news for the acquisition of Swedish firm Tipster.


Getir, a Turkish ultrafast grocery delivery unicorn, just announced that it is slashing 14% of its worldwide stuff, which is over a whopping 4,500 roles. Getir operates in nine markets, including the US, UK, and Germany and the number of layoffs will vary by country. Apart from layoffs, the company has not announced that it has no plans to exit any existing market.

This announcement follows the Series E funding of $768 million that Getir raised in March this year with a valuation of $11.8 billion.


The Swedish healthtech unicorn Kry has confirmed that it is in plans to let go off 10% of its total employees, which accounts to 100 people.


The Berlin-based on-demand grocery delivery startup Gorillas is all set to let go of 300 employees, citing the need to reach profitability. With this layoff, almost 50% of its employees in the headquarters in Berlin will be laid off and it will also close many offices. Notably, it is evaluating a possible exit from Italy, Spain, Denmark and Belgium as it focuses on more profitable markets such as Germany, UK and US.


London-based Zapp, a fast grocery delivery startup, recently confirmed that it is considering to layoff of up to 10% of staff. While the final decision is pending, the plans to let go of its employees in the UK in underway. The company spokesperson announced that the current macroeconomic climate has become incredibly challenging, with very little visibility of when things will improve.

Earlier this year, Zapp raised $200 million in a mega funding round led by internationally renowned investors.

Apart from these companies, Chicago-based Cameo that allows fans to pay celebrities to record a personalised message or join them on a video call, has announced the layoff of 87 employees. In addition, On Deck, San Francisco tech company that connects founders to each other, capital and advice, announced the layoff plans of 25% off its staff, which will impact 72 employees.

US financial services company Robinhood announced to let go off 9% of its full-time employees. Also, Austin unicorn Workrise has laid off an unspecified number of employees and Thrasio, an Amazon brand aggregator laid off 20% of its staff. Besides these companis, instant delivery giant Gopuff announced that it will let go off 3% of its employees.

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