GoBolt lays off five percent of staff shortly after $75 million raise, citing worsening consumer demand

With cuts, GoBolt shifts focus away from SMBs to mid-market, enterprise merchants.

Toronto-based delivery startup GoBolt has laid off 55 employees, becoming the latest in a long line of Canadian tech firms to shed staff amid the economic downturn.

The cuts come about a month after GoBolt announced a $75 million CAD Series C financing round to support its North American market expansion plans and grow its fleet of electric vehicles.

“The decision was made in the face of economic uncertainty in 2023, and underwriting only ROI certain investments.”
-Mark Ang, GoBolt

GoBolt co-founder and CEO Mark Ang shared the layoff news in a January 10 LinkedIn post containing a letter to the company’s team. Ang confirmed to BetaKit that the cuts impact around five percent of the company’s over 1,000 employees.

According to the letter, the layoffs reflect GoBolt’s desire to focus its spending on areas of its business that generate a clear and more immediate return on investment (ROI) amid the market downturn and declining consumer demand.

“The decision was made in the face of economic uncertainty in 2023, and underwriting only ROI certain investments,” Ang told BetaKit. “Success is not a linear path and GoBolt continues to succeed at what it does best.”

Ang wrote to employees that, in recent years, GoBolt has seen a strong ROI in the company’s small-to-medium-sized business (SMB), mid-market, and enterprise segments. But as the startup’s network has grown, Ang said “it has become clear that our mid-market and enterprise segment are the ones where our future lies and where our sole focus should be.”

“At the same time, our business needed restructuring to allow us to sharpen our focus on these segments to give us the best chances of winning,” added the CEO. “The changes today, though difficult, reflect that.”

With the move, GoBolt joins a growing list of Canadian tech companies to lay off employees, and the second company to do so this week alongside Thinkific, which cut 76 staff members as it looks to hasten its path to profitability.

RELATED: GoBolt closes $75 million Series C round to double down on EVs, North American expansion

The two firms are far from alone: according to layoff tracking website Layoffs.fyi, around 154,000 tech roles across over 1,000 tech companies globally were eliminated last year. In just the first 11 days of 2023, per Layoffs.fyi, 50 tech companies from around the world have already cut nearly 21,000 employees at time of publication.

Founded in 2017, GoBolt offers an end-to-end fulfillment and last-mile logistics solution for businesses. The company’s tech-enabled supply chain network provides warehousing, pick and pack, shipping, and last-mile delivery to customers, like Ikea and Chanel, in 10 cities across North America. To date, GoBolt has raised a total of $222.5 million CAD from a list of backers that includes Yaletown Ventures, Export Development Canada, BDC Capital, Whitecap Venture Partners, and Ikea’s Ingka Investments.

Though the firm faces challenging conditions, from high inflation to waning e-commerce demand, Ang wrote in the letter that he is still confident in GoBolt’s big-picture outlook. “Despite the current economic climate, the longer-term opportunity before us remains massive,” he said.

Feature image courtesy GoBolt.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. He is also the winner of SABEW Canada’s 2023 Jeff Sanford Best Young Journalist award. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

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