Calgary-based software startup Symend has restructured and reduced its staff by 25 percent, BetaKit has learned.
Tiffany Kaminsky, Symend’s co-founder and chief impact officer, confirmed the company’s latest layoffs, which took place last week, with BetaKit. Per Kaminsky, 50 employees across the business were let go while another 12 team members left the firm due to “attrition” and Symend decided not to backfill those roles.
Symend co-founder and CEO Hanif Joshaghani first announced the restructuring and layoffs in a March 17 LinkedIn post. These cuts mark Symend’s second staff reduction since November and come four months after the company announced a new $54 million CAD financing round, funded primarily by existing investors.
Though Symend remains well-capitalized, Kaminsky noted that Symend is taking “a really conservative approach” to its spending amid current economic conditions.
That same month, Symend shed 13 percent of its team in a round of layoffs the company attributed to a shift away from research and development (R&D) towards growth after building out its behavioural engagement platform. Between those cuts and this latest round, Symend has laid off around 80 employees in recent months. Symend’s headcount now sits at 186, down more than a third from the 296 employees the company had as recently as June 2022, according to data from LinkedIn.
In an interview with BetaKit, Kaminsky noted that Symend’s previous layoffs were primarily product and tech-related and pointed out that this round of cuts was more wide-ranging. With this restructuring, Kaminsky said part of the focus is on ensuring that Symend operates “in a lean and efficient way” with “a pathway to sustainability.”
Though Symend remains well-capitalized, Kaminsky noted that like many other Canadian tech startups, Symend is taking “a really conservative approach” to its spending amid current economic conditions.
Founded in 2016, Symend sells software designed to help businesses engage financially at-risk clients using behavioural science. Symend’s platform helps telecommunications firms and banks boost collection rates from delinquent customers.
To date, Symend has raised around $187 million in total funding from a group that includes Inovia Capital, Impression Ventures, Mistral Venture Partners, BDC Capital’s Growth Venture Co-Investment Fund, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, Plaza Ventures, and EDC.
Symend spent more than a year and a half focusing on R&D after raising $127 million CAD in Series B funding, including an initial $73 million in May 2020 followed by a $54 million extension in February 2021. In November 2022, Symend closed $54 million in growth capital, mainly from existing backers.
Speaking to the company’s latest round of cuts, Kaminsky said, “This time, we really looked at the holistic organization … We saw that there were silos, redundancies, things that we didn’t necessarily need within the business now that we have a platform that we can bring to market with a lot of automated pieces.”
As economic conditions have deteriorated, Kaminsky acknowledged that deals are taking longer to close. At the same time, the Symend co-founder claimed that demand for the startup’s platform remains strong with rising inflation and consumer debt at an all-time high. According to Kaminsky, this is reflected in the fact that Symend set out to serve over 65 million customers in 2022 and exceeded that target, surpassing 75 million.
In laying off staff amid current market conditions, Symend is not alone. As BetaKit reported, Toronto-based accounting software firm FreshBooks shed 10 percent of its staff yesterday, joining a growing list of Canadian tech companies that have made similar cuts during the economic downturn. This group includes fellow Toronto firm Wave Financial, as well as Kitchener-Waterloo’s Avidbots and EnPowered.
Wave CEO Zahir Khoja confirmed to BetaKit that the H&R Block-owned bookkeeping and payments company cut approximately 50 employees, or 14 percent of its workforce earlier this month. Meanwhile, Avidbots co-founder and CEO Faizan Sheikh confirmed that the commercial cleaning robotics firm recently shed 14 percent of its team, impacting about 50 staff members. For his part, EnPowered CTO Mike Kirkup confirmed to BetaKit that the cleantech-focused FinTech startup has laid off staff, but declined to disclose details.
Symend’s cuts add to what has already been a difficult 2023 for tech layoffs. According to Layoffs.fyi, more than 500 tech companies globally have cut over 150,000 employees since the beginning of January—a total nearly equal to the amount of people laid off during all of 2022.
“These have been really tough changes,” said Kaminsky. “Anytime you say goodbye to really great team members, it’s hard, for sure, but I think we feel incredibly confident that it was the right decision for the business.”
Feature image courtesy Symend.