Nuro, the autonomous vehicle delivery startup backed by SoftBank, Google, and Tiger Global Management, is laying off about 300 people, or 20% of its workforce, in an effort to conserve cash amid a bleak economic outlook.
Several Nuro employees also expressed their dissatisfaction with the layoffs on Twitter and LinkedIn this morning.
Co-founders Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson informed employees in an email obtained by TechCrunch that they would receive an update later this morning letting them know if they were affected by the layoff and providing information on next steps.
The co-founders said they take responsibility for the layoffs, which were the result of over-hiring in 2021 smacking into economic headwinds in 2022:
Each and every one of you have made important contributions to this company, and saying goodbye to talented Nurons is not a decision we have taken lightly. For those of you leaving Nuro, we are very sorry for this outcome — this is not the experience we wanted to create for you. We made this call and take full responsibility for today’s circumstances.
Ferguson and Zhu wrote that in 2021, it was the “strongest fundraising environments in history.” “We saw an abundant supply of capital for deep tech companies and almost all companies were aggressively hiring and expanding,” they wrote, adding that, “In that environment, we determined it made sense to invest heavily across the board and grow our team rapidly.”
Macroeconomic difficulties in 2022, such as inflation and an approaching US recession, caused the founders to cut expenditures, including reducing its employees, in order to extend its capital runway until 2025.
According to the couple, Nuro still has more than $1 billion on its balance sheet.
Workers who have been laid off will receive 12 weeks of severance compensation, with the possibility of up to 14 weeks for those who have been with the company for more than two years. The corporation will also give out bonuses to individuals who qualify and will waive the one-year vesting cliff on equity.
According to the email, Nuro will subsidize 100% of COBRA healthcare premiums (including families) through March 31, 2023, will provide career transition support, and visa holders will receive some notice period to facilitate this move as well as, if applicable, travel assistance.
While the corporation has grown and now has offices in Houston, Palo Alto, and Mountain View, California, it has also reduced its operations in at least one place. This summer, the business closed its Phoenix facility as its marketing strategy changed away from the desert city and toward the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston.