Electric scooter company Bird lays off 23% of its employees
Los Angeles-based micromobility company Bird seeks to reduce, at the cost of hundreds of jobs. The shared electric scooter company reportedly laid off 23% of its employees in its latest round of layoffs.
Bird’s consumer products division was particularly hard hit, which has expanded to include e-bikes and e-scooters designed for direct-to-consumer sales, in addition to Bird’s shared e-scooter operations.
As Michael Browne explained on LinkedIn:
Today I learned how risky a job in a startup can be. What seemed like a great opportunity a few months ago quickly faded away as Bird today laid off 23% of its workforce and closed its consumer products division, with myself as chief marketing officer, Consumer products.
The move comes after Bird hinted in its first quarter 2022 earnings report that cost-cutting measures would soon be needed.
The company explained to Tech Crunch that current economic trends were partly responsible for the layoffs:
“While the need for and access to transportation by micro-electric vehicles has never been greater, macroeconomic trends that affect everyone have caused us to accelerate our path to profitability. This path has forced us to reduce our cost structure in a way that allows us to expand our service responsibly and sustainably beyond the more than 400 cities in which we operate today, because climate action has never been more paramount. In addition to eliminating all non-essential third-party spending, we unfortunately had to leave with a number of team members who passionately helped create a new industry and paved the way for more environmentally friendly transportation. »
The writing may have been on the wall for Bird for some time. After going public via a SPAC late last year, the company’s shares have fallen more than 90% in just seven months.
It’s quite a fall from grace for a company that was once at the top of the e-scooter sharing world, bursting onto the scene in late 2017 and early 2018 as it helped a fledgling scooter sharing industry become gangbusters.
This is not the first time that Bird has taken drastic measures and reduced a large part of its workforce. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bird laid off about 30% of its workforce, but was able to recover, in part due to the growing popularity of micromobility during the pandemic.
While micromobility remains incredibly popular, this time Bird is weathering the current storm in a very different economic environment.
Without a consumer product division, Bird will need to rely heavily on its e-scooter sharing business to make a smooth return to profitability.
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