Crypto and CRE Tech
Layoffs hit crypto and real estate tech particularly hard this week
 Jun 20, 2022
Amanda Silberling | TechCrunch

Hey Siri, when does a “macroeconomic downturn” become a “recession”?

It’s another bleak week for startups weathering dismal tech stocks and even worse cryptocurrency prices. But let’s start with some good news: your children can get vaccinated against COVID-19!

Back to the bad news: We’re writing another weekly layoffs column, because once again, there’s been enough bad news this week that it’s necessary to round it all up.

This week, startups in crypto and real estate fared particularly badly — naturally, as mortgage interest rates rise, fewer people want to buy homes. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is nearing dangerously close to the $20,000 mark, a serious plunge from the $60,000+ prices we saw just seven months ago (I have been told on Twitter that #ItsNotAllAboutPrices).

Unfortunately, this week’s layoffs spanned beyond just those two fields, with consumer tech, fintech and food delivery impacted as well.

Let’s start with Real Estate
Our own Mary Ann Azevedo has been tracking the real estate tech sector, reporting on Tuesday that publicly traded real estate brokerage platforms Redfin and Compass laid off a combined 900 employees.

“I said we wouldn’t lay off people unless we had to,” said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. “We have to.”

Redfin offered laid-off employees 10 weeks of base salary, plus an additional week of pay for every year of service, capped at 15 weeks. They will also be paid the cost of three months of company healthcare so they can temporarily continue coverage.

In addition to cutting 450 jobs, or 10% of employees, Compass will pause hiring and M&A for the rest of the year.

San Francisco-based rental platform Zumper also cut about 15% of its 300 employees, which mostly affected its art, sales and customer service departments, according to The Real Deal. Earlier this month, another Bay Area brokerage, Side, cut 10% of its staff as well.

Despite this industy-wide shakeup, some companies are still chugging along. Proptech company HomeLight raised $60 million and acquired lending startup this week.

Pain on the Blockchain
Coinbase is suffering a slow, morale-crushing descent. After a hiring freeze, then the controversial rescinding of accepted offers, the crypto exchange announced this week that it will reduce its workforce by 18%.

Remember when we said that layoffs are a bit more bearable when you’re not a jerk to your employees? I regret to inform you that Coinbase’s higher-ups probably do not read my work.

In a letter to employees, CEO Brian Armstrong said that employees who were laid off would be notified about their status via their personal emails — they would be cut off from their corporate accounts immediately to protect sensitive data.

True, angered former employees might retaliate by leaking such info. But you know how to make them even more aggrieved? Cut them off from their work accounts with no warning and tell them they no longer have a job.

Coinbase had 1,250 employees at the beginning of 2021, when the NFT craze ushered a new wave of participants into crypto. Since then, the team had more than quadrupled.


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