This week, Toronto-based online education firm Top Hat laid off 35 employees in a push to become a “self-sustaining business” this year, BetaKit has learned.
With the move, Top Hat joins fellow Toronto software companies Loopio and Wattpad in shedding staff in early 2024 as Canadian tech layoffs persist and businesses continue to refocus their efforts and target profitability amid uncertain economic conditions.
Also this week, Loopio, which sells request-for-proposal (RFP) software, laid off six percent of its team, according to a LinkedIn post from co-founder and CEO Zak Hemraj. Earlier this year, Naver-owned storytelling platform Wattpad trimmed its headcount by about 20 employees or about 10 percent, as first reported by The Korea Economic Daily and since confirmed by BetaKit.
Per Layoffs.fyi, January saw the most global tech layoffs of any month since March 2023.
For Top Hat, Loopio, and Wattpad, these layoffs mark each firm’s second round of downsizing in the past year. Last August, BetaKit reported that Top Hat laid off 42 employees (less than 10 percent of its team). Two months earlier, Loopio cut nine percent of its staff, while back in March 2023, Wattpad laid off 42 people or 15 percent of its workforce.
A Top Hat spokesperson confirmed to BetaKit that the EdTech firm’s latest layoffs took place on January 30 and were based on business priorities rather than individual performance, noting, “the reduction enables Top Hat to be a self-sustaining business in our upcoming fiscal year.”
Top Hat did not disclose what percentage of its workforce was impacted by these cuts. According to LinkedIn, Top Hat currently has a headcount of 498, and 35 employees represent seven percent of the company’s staff.
These layoffs come shortly after BetaKit reported the departure of Top Hat CEO Joe Rohrlich and CRO Matt Schurk, and as Top Hat is in the final stages of appointing a new leader.
Loopio’s latest cuts also took place on January 30. In his post, Hemraj noted that they come as the company “and the entire software industry has faced a lot of change over the last 12 to 18 months.” He said the reduction will enable the RFP tech firm to invest more in product innovation and new capabilities.
Hemraj did not disclose how many Loopio employees were impacted. Per LinkedIn, Loopio currently has 276 employees—six percent of which is about 17 people. BetaKit has reached out to Loopio for additional comment but the company did not respond by publication time.
For its part, Wattpad reorganized its business and operations teams in early January, a company spokesperson confirmed to BetaKit. These layoffs also impacted employees working in marketing, content, and people, and brought the firm’s headcount down to about 200.
According to Layoffs.fyi, global tech layoffs peaked during the first quarter of 2023 and have declined every quarter since then. But January 2024 saw tech job cuts spike once again.
Per Layoffs.fyi, 115 tech firms worldwide have collectively shed over 30,000 employees since the beginning of this year, with January having seen the most layoffs of any month since March 2023.
This figure includes Canadian companies like Toronto’s BenchSci, which laid off 70 employees (17 percent of staff) and Saskatoon-based 7shifts, which cut 68 people or 19 percent of its team last month.
Canadian tech industry players anticipate more layoffs to come in 2024, as well as more hiring.
Meanwhile, major industry employers like Google and Amazon have indicated that they will continue downsizing their workforces, with some citing artificial intelligence as justification.
Feature image courtesy Top Hat.