Shared micromobility company Bird plans to layoff 23% of its staff, according to tech layoff tracker Layoffs.fyi.
The tech tracker attributes the news of the layoffs to an internal memo, but certain LinkedIn posts from former Bird employees confirm that the layoffs have already begun, and they're hitting everyone from senior managers to new hires across different business divisions.
Bird has also confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch, saying that the departures will span across the organization and regions.
“While the need for and access to micro-electric vehicle transportation has never been greater, macro economic trends impacting everyone have resulted in an acceleration of our path to profitability," Bird told TechCrunch on Tuesday. "This path required us to reduce our cost structure in a way that allows us to responsibly and sustainably expand our service beyond the more than 400 cities we operate in today as climate action has never been more paramount. In addition to eliminating all non-critical third party spend, we also unfortunately had to depart with a number of team members who passionately helped create a new industry and paved the way for more eco-friendly transportation.”
We hate to say it, but we saw this coming, and not just because of the sweeping layoffs across the tech space that saw 16,000 tech workers lose their jobs last month. When Bird revealed its first quarter 2022 earnings in May, the company said it plans to "streamline and consolidate its resourcing against its core business" in order to get closer to profitable margins.
Part of that plan manifested in Bird pausing on its retail operations -- Bird had previously been pushing sales of its own e-bikes and e-scooters. But as we reported last month, layoffs were also to be expected, even though Bird wouldn't admit to it at the time.
Bird has around 600 employees, according to the company. That means Bird is planning on laying off around 138 workers. Layoffs.fyi shows that most of the layoffs will be happening in Los Angeles, but TechCrunch is still working to confirm. At least one former employee looking for work on LinkedIn was based in Texas.
This isn't the first time Bird, which went public via SPAC last November, has had to resort to mass layoffs. A little over two years ago, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bird also laid off 30% of its employees, or about 406 people.
While the most recent round of Bird layoffs have already begun, they're likely to continue over the next few days. One former employee who was a new hire told TechCrunch Bird had been hiring new people every week in March and April, so he thinks most of those hires will be reversed, including ones that were just hired over the past couple of weeks.
"After that, I'm guessing they will cut based on which city they leave," the former employee told TechCrunch. "Since some cities are not profitable, the people who are in charge of those regions may be cut, too."
The same former employee also told TechCrunch that Bird handled the layoffs well, from his perspective.
"I heard stories about the last layoffs. However, this time they learned and decided to go with a 1-on-1 approach," the former employee said, referencing how Bird laid off 406 people via Zoom in 2020. "It’s great to hear it from your own manager. In my case, my manager gave me a warning as soon as the Q1 earnings was released. As a result, I was mentally prepared."
A Bird spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that each team member was informed of their status during an "individual departure meeting with a senior level leader in the company and people/HR team contact."
Departing team members received a minimum of three weeks severance, three months of healthcare, extended exercise windows for vested options, the removal of cliffs for applicable grants, and they get to keep their laptops.
This story is being updated as TechCrunch learns more and speaks to people who were affected by the layoffs. Check back in for updates.
A previous version of this story said Bird had 1,041 employees, per LinkedIn. Bird has clarified the number is closer to 600.