TechDigits

Tech news
Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

The financial startups bubble is bursting. Here are the fintechs that have announced cuts so far, from Robinhood to Better.

The financial startups bubble is bursting. Here are the fintechs that have announced cuts so far, from Robinhood to Better.

Robinhood cut 300 jobs in April, citing a slowdown in retail trading. Other financial tech companies to slash headcount include Better and Blend.

America's tech industry enjoyed an unprecedented boom during the pandemic when Americans turned to their phones like never before to do everything from shopping to online banking.

Financial technology startups that help consumers bank, trade or shop online were among the winners. But business is slowing as people increasingly return to their pre-pandemic lives.

Compounding the slowdown for fintechs are rising interest rates, which hurt demand for services like mortgage lending and stock trading.

Signs of distress are showing up in the form of layoffs, which have been popping up all over Silicon Valley businesses in the last few months, from no-fee trading app Robinhood to mortgage software provider Blend.

Here are some of the most notable examples so far:


Robinhood: More than 300 people


Robinhood cofounders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt were "visibly shaken" in announcing jobs cuts in April.


During the pandemic, so-called "meme stocks" from GameStop and AMC exploded as stuck-at-home investors armed with no-fee trading platforms looked for ways to spend their pandemic stimulus checks.

As new users piled in, Robinhood hired rapidly. Between 2020 and 2021, the trading app's staff grew dramatically: from 700 people to around 3,800, according to CEO Vlad Tenev. But that growth ended up proving too much, too fast. In April, Robinhood was forced to slash headcount by 9% — more than 300 people altogether.

"This rapid headcount growth has led to some duplicate roles and job functions, and more layers and complexity than are optimal," Tenev said in April. "After carefully considering all these factors, we determined that making these reductions to Robinhood's staff is the right decision to improve efficiency, increase our velocity, and ensure that we are responsive to the changing needs of our customers."

Laid off staff have told Insider that the founders were "visibly shaken" in announcing the April layoffs.


Better: About 4,000 people


Better.com CEO Vishal Garg laid off 900 employees on a video call in December.


Starting in late 2021 and continuing through the first several months of 2022, mortgage startup Better.com laid off approximately 4,000 people.

The first wave started right before the holiday season in 2021, when CEO Vishal Garg laid off "hundreds" of people in a video call.

Garg told employees via Zoom that the company, "lost $100 million last quarter," which he said, "was my mistake." He then said the layoffs shouldn't have happened right before the holiday, but, "three months ago."

Former employees told Insider they were shocked and angry by the first round of cuts, in part because execs had painted a rosy picture.

Better followed up with another 3,000 layoffs in March, and is now accepting voluntary layoffs in some departments.


Blend: About 200 employees


Nima Ghamsari, founder and CEO of Blend


Although Blend doesn't write home loans, its technology is used by major US lenders from Wells Fargo to US Bank, so its fortunes are tied closely to theirs. Blend's layoffs this spring affected roughly 200 people, many concentrated within Blend's title insurance business.

Ahead of its IPO last July, Blend bought Title365, which has been particularly exposed to swings in refinance volumes, for more than $400 million.

The size and pace of rate increases "is unprecedented, certainly in modern history," Tim Mayopoulos, the president of Blend, told Insider.

Prior to joining Blend, Mayopoulos spent nearly 10 years at Fannie Mae, where he ultimately served as president and CEO of the mortgage giant.

"These are big movements in a very, very big market," Mayopoulos added. "It shouldn't be surprising to any of us that everybody who's touching this market is having to think about how to bring their cost structure in line with market realities."


Mainstreet: About 50 employees


MainStreet's homepage as of May 4, 2022.


In January 2022, B2B financial-services startup MainStreet flew the entire company out for a week-long working vacation in Maui.

About 150 employees stayed at the luxurious Grand Wailea Hotel, attended meetings, and enjoyed free buffets at the beachfront Hawaiian resort. Workers who questioned the expense were told the startup was aiming to land a significant Series B funding round that would ensure significant runway.

But the funding that ultimately materialized was smaller than originally planned, Insider has learned, and in early May the company cut around 50 employees — roughly a third of its workforce.


PayPal: 4-person emerging technology R&D team


A PayPal sign is seen at an office building in San Jose, California May 28, 2014.


PayPal has laid off its security R&D team focusing on emerging technologies, Insider has learned. And a source with direct knowledge of the cuts believes it won't be the only unit to be affected as the payments giant undergoes an internal restructuring to cut spend.

"There's a lot of restructuring, a lot of refocusing for the company. As you know, the last quarters haven't been really great from a financial perspective. I think there's a lot of tightening going on in the company," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. The source added that employees in other advanced security topics, such as threat intelligence, were also let go.

Market conditions, like supply chain issues and rising inflation, have put downward pressure on growth, Schulman said. Meanwhile, eBay's migration to managing the end-to-end payments process "put $1.4 billion of pressure on our top line," Schulman said during the earnings call. Competition from fintechs like Stripe and Shopify also continues to saturate the payments and e-commerce space.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
0:00
0:00
Close
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
Melinda French Gates Advocates for Increased Female Representation in AI to Prevent Bias
Snapchat+ gains 4 million paying subscribers in its first year
Apple Makes History as the First Public Company Valued at $3 Trillion
Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
EU and UK's Slow Electric Vehicle Adoption Raises Questions About the Transition to Green Mobility
Top Companies Express Concerns Over Europe's Proposed AI Law, Citing Competitiveness and Investment Risks
Meta Unveils Insights on AI Usage in Facebook and Instagram, Amid Growing Calls for Transparency
Crypto Scams Against Seniors Soar by 78% in 2022, Experts Urge Vigilance
The End of an Era: National Geographic Dismisses Last of Its Staff Writers
Shield Your Wallet: The Perils of Wireless Credit Card Theft
Harvard Scientist Who Studies Honesty Accused Of Data Fraud, Put On Leave
Putting an End to the Subscription Snare: The Battle Against Unwitting Commitments
The Legal Perils of AI: Lawyer Faces Sanctions for Relying on Fictional Cases Generated by Chatbot
ChatGPT’s "Grandma Exploit": Ingenious Hack Exposes Loophole in AI, Generates Free Software Codes
The Disney Downturn: A Near Billion-Dollar Box Office Blow for the House of Mouse
A Digital Showdown: Canada Challenges Tech Giants with The Online News Act, Meta Strikes Back
Distress in the Depths: Submersible and Passengers Missing in Titanic Wreckage Expedition
Mark Zuckerberg stealing another idea: Twitter
European Union's AI Regulations Risk Self-Sabotage, Cautions smart and brave Venture Capitalist Joe Lonsdale
Nvidia GPUs are so hard to get that rich venture capitalists are buying them for the startups they invest in
Chinese car exports surge
Reddit Blackout: Thousands of Communities Protest "Ludicrous" Pricing Changes
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
×