Hubba reportedly lays off half its staff following March pivot

hubba

Hubba has undergone its second round of layoffs this year, BetaKit has learned.

Speaking with BetaKit, multiple sources familiar with the matter placed the number of staff laid off at approximately 25 people. In March 2018, the Toronto-based startup laid off nine members of its staff, with 45 staff remaining at the time.

“This is the first step in a much larger growth strategy. It is not the first bold and unconventional move we have made and you can be sure it won’t be the last.”
– Hubba CEO,
Ben Zifkin

At the time, CEO Ben Zifkin said the company was doubling down on its machine learning, engineering, and data teams, as part of a pivot from enterprise to independent retail. “Our drive now is to get to our $100 million in revenue GMV target,” Zifkin said at the time. “We are headed down completely on that.”

In September, Hubba announced that former Amazon lead Desh Singh would take on the role of CTO a year after the company’s former chief product officer, Johnathan Nightingale, left the role to found Raw Signal Group (disclosure: Nightingale is one-half of a writing team that regularly contributes to BetaKit). However, Singh’s LinkedIn profile confirms that he left the role sometime this month to join another company. BetaKit has also learned that Hubba CMO Danielle Brown has departed the company this month, and is now listed on her LinkedIn profile as the CMO of Knixwear.

Zifkin did not immediately confirm the exact number of employees laid off or remaining at Hubba, but provided this statement to BetaKit: “As we focus on continuing to grow the business, we will always be optimizing the company to ensure the right structure, team, and resources to execute on our big vision,” he said.

“We are in a multi-trillion dollar market and going up against massive commerce companies like Alibaba and others. We have years of runway in the bank and have had initial success since the launch of our marketplace, but we are here to win and will do whatever it takes get us [sic] to the next level. This is the first step in a much larger growth strategy. It is not the first bold and unconventional move we have made and you can be sure it won’t be the last.”

With files from Douglas Soltys.

Story updated (09/09/18) with new information regarding the departure of Hubba’s CMO.