Bonsai has laid off around two-thirds of staff over last two months

The CEO cited market volatility despite Bonsai raising $21 million this year.

For the second time in less than two months, Toronto startup Bonsai has laid off a significant number of staff, marking a 70 percent reduction since April.

Bonsai founder and CEO Saad Siddiqui told BetaKit that “the layoff comes in response to increased volatility in the public and private capital markets.”

Approximately 30 workers lost their jobs as part of Bonsai’s most recent cuts. The startup now sits at 25 full-time and contractor employees. Siddiqui said the layoffs affected the entire organization, from product and engineering to operations and customer service.

Bonsai announced in March that it had secured $21 million CAD in Series A capital, which included $14.5 million in equity and $6.5 million in debt. Just one month later, Bonsai had laid off 29 employees (about 34 percent of its team).

At that time, Siddiqui told BetaKit the move was proactive and part of a restructuring to allocate more capital towards growth. The staff cuts in April eliminated certain product and engineering teams in order to focus on customer acquisition, the CEO said.

Siddiqui said at the time that the April layoffs were about a change in Bonsai’s operating philosophy rather than a response to a cooling in the venture market. He also rejected the idea that Bonsai’s layoffs were in any way related to the recent struggles faced by one of its biggest customers, BuzzFeed, or market conditions that have led to a number of tech companies (both public and private) to make layoffs of late.

Regarding the most recent layoffs, Siddiqui said, “Bonsai’s smaller team structure will allow us to conserve cash, significantly extend runway and focus on profitability. Given the challenges in the tech sector today, and how rapidly investment criteria is changing, we felt it was important to minimize our dependence on venture financing.”

Bonsai has become the latest Canadian tech company to make layoffs in recent weeks. Last week, Wealthsimple and BBTV joined that list also each citing a more narrowed focus as the markets tighten.

Bonsai works with high-profile media publishers to facilitate sales through an embedded commerce tool that includes discovery and checkout. Since launching its solution in January 2021, Bonsai has amassed a list of customers that includes media conglomerates like BuzzFeed, Vox Media, PureWow, Refinery29, and Well+Good.

Image source Bonsai via Facebook

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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