Santa Monica-based electric scooter firm Bird is laying off 23% of its staff in an effort to cut costs.
A Bird spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in an emailed statement to dot.LA—noting that "while the need for and access to micro-electric vehicle transportation has never been greater, macroeconomic trends impacting everyone have resulted in an acceleration of our path to profitability."
"This path required us to reduce our cost structure in a way that allows us to responsibly and sustainably expand our service beyond the more than 400 cities we operate in today as climate action has never been more paramount," the spokesperson added. "In addition to eliminating all non-critical third-party spend, we also unfortunately had to depart with a number of team members who passionately helped create a new industry and paved the way for more eco-friendly transportation."
A number of Bird employees posted online about the layoffs earlier on Tuesday. One former employee named Angelica Gomez said on LinkedIn that she was "one of the employees affected by layoffs at Bird" and is now looking for a new job. Gomez worked as a data analyst at Bird for just under two years. Gomez’s boss, a former senior data analytics manager for Bird named Bryce Miller, also posted about the layoffs on LinkedIn, having also been let go from the company.
One former Bird employee who was laid off, and requested to remain anonymous because he's looking for new work, confirmed to dot.LA that Bird leadership told employees that about 23% of the company would be fired. The former employee said that the company is still in the process of informing people that their positions have been cut.
"We knew right after [first quarter] earnings came out," the former employee told dot.LA. "The executives set up a company-wide meeting right after the earnings and mentioned they would do everything they could to cut third-party spend and that layoffs may happen."
The source added that he and other employees appreciated the transparency given Bird's previously disastrous handling of layoffs two years ago, when it fired over 400 people during a Zoom meeting that workers later said "felt like a 'Black Mirror' episode."
"I actually left my last job to come to Bird. It was a risk and, in my case, it didn’t end up well for me," the former employee said. "But Bird has been transparent with its employees and that they did the best they could, which everyone appreciates."
Bird cut positions across a variety of departments and regions as part of the layoffs. The company is offering all terminated employees a minimum of three weeks of severance, three months of healthcare coverage continuation and extended windows for workers to vest their stock options.
Bird has been tightening its belt since going public via a SPAC deal last November, with the company continuing to find it hard to turn a profit in the shared e-scooter business. In its first-quarter earnings report last month, Bird laid out plans to "accelerate its path to profitability" via $80 million in run-rate cost savings for the 2022 fiscal year.
Update, 4:30 p.m. PT, June 7: This article has been updated to include comment from Bird.
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