Career Karma conducts layoffs as tech jobs face a massive stress test

Learning navigation platform Career Karma has laid off 60 people across its United States and global teams, CEO and co-founder Ruben Harris confirmed to TechCrunch. While he did not share the percentage total of those impacted, sources say a third of staff was impacted.

C-suite was not impacted by the workforce reduction, Harris said. The startup, founded in 2018 by Harris, Artur Meyster and Timur Meyster, links students to learning bootcamps and educational programs that fit their career and up-skilling goals. The end goal of the startup is to onramp more folks into tech jobs, a world that we all know is under significant duress right now. 

According to sources, the layoff happened earlier this week and heavily impacted folks on the marketing and recruitment team. Harris confirmed that Career Karma now has over 3 years of runway to keep operating, without needing a funding round, following the layoff.

“What is different about this recovery is that it will be longer,” Harris and his co-founders wrote to the board in an e-mail sent to the company and its investors. “While the timing of our Series B fundraising has prepared us for this moment, we have to assume that this recovery will take 3-4 years and stretch that cash for as long as possible.”

Earlier this year, Career Karma raised a $40 million Series B, led by Top Tier Capital, at an undisclosed valuation. The startup has been operating since 2018 and has received checks from Y Combinator, Kapor Capital, Backstage, Emerson Collective, SoftBank and GV, formerly known as Google Ventures.

Career Karma’s latest check came as the platform sought to evolve from a navigation tool for those interested in joining a bootcamp, to an employer benefit that helps workers and contractors find job training programs that fit their needs. The transition from targeting consumers to employers meant that Career Karma was serving a stickier end-customer, one that would sign up large swaths of employees versus single customers, one by one.

While it makes sense from a business model and impact sense, startups are also facing dwindling budgets and need to extend runway. It means that learning and development tools may be cut from the employee benefit suite, thus impacting Career Karma’s ability to land new customers.

“We are narrowing our focus to profitability of the marketplace and our enterprise expansion,” Harris wrote in an e-mail to TechCrunch. The company considered three factors when choosing who to cut: their financial impact to the company, how critical they are to the operational infrastructure, and if skills aligned with the company’s strategy.

Harris added that employees impacted would have cash severance, three months of funded health, dental and vision care, as well as career navigation services.

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