Austria’s first unicorn, Bitpanda, announced on Friday, June 24, that it will lay off some of its employees to ensure the sustainability of the company.
The company mentions in a blog titled “The Way Forward” that it sent an email and Slack message to employees after a call, which mentioned, “We need to let part of our team go and scale down to a target organisational size of about 730 people.”
Founders Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek, and Christian Trummer say, “We made this incredibly difficult decision to ensure that we stay true to Bitpanda’s mission and keep building the leading investment platform in Europe and beyond. While this is a tough decision to make, it was nonetheless necessary to make sure we’re robustly well-capitalised to navigate the storm and get out of it financially healthy, no matter how long it takes for markets to recover, without compromising on product quality and customer experience.”
Why the layoff?
Bitpanda was founded in 2014 with a mission to break the barriers of investing by making easy-to-use financial products for everybody. The company provides an exchange platform for digital assets such as cryptocurrency.
The platform removes complicated financial barriers through digitised assets and blockchain technology and offers low fees, 24/7 trading, and real-time settlements. In order to follow this ambition and continue to offer “best in class” service to its customers, the company says that necessary steps had to be taken.
According to Bitpanda, geopolitical tensions, increasing inflation, and worries about the approaching recession have all contributed to a shift in market attitude during the previous few months. And though the company is aware that the financial sector is cyclical, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the market. Nobody knows when this will change.
The founders of Bitpanda mention in a blog, “As a hypergrowth company, we were experiencing growing pains. In keeping up with the industry, our team’s growth rate has been too high. We were facing challenges in setting up the right internal processes and infrastructure to successfully onboard new joiners, put them in the right place to win and enable them to deliver impact. We reached a point where more people joining didn’t make us more effective, but created coordination overheads instead, particularly in this new market reality. Looking back now, we realise that our hiring speed was not sustainable. That was a mistake.”
Eric, Paul, and Christian made this decision to ensure that the company is well-capitalised in order to get out of the situation financially healthy, no matter how long it takes for markets to recover. “It is a tough, but necessary decision and we are confident that the new organisational design will help us be more focused, effective, and stronger as a company,” say the founders.
Bitpanda says it will support those who were laid off, “by offering packages that go beyond the employment law requirements in your market.”
Besides, the company is immediately offering the following support options to anyone potentially affected:
- Bitpanda Talent Connect Hub: the company is setting up a support centre to receive additional support in finding its employees their next role, including access to dedicated workshops on how to build a LinkedIn profile and CV, and how to prepare for interviews or how to search for the next role;
- 1:1 coaching with Talent Acquisition partners: Employees will be directly connected with Bitpanda’s TA partners to get individual feedback on their CV, recommend new job opportunities, connect them to companies that are currently hiring and recruitment agencies, as well as help them land their next role;
- References: The senior leadership at Bitpanda, as well as the People team, will provide written and verbal references to support employees with their job search;
- Mental Health support: The company will provide certified psychologists to support their employees during these challenging times;
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Bitpanda has also set up the EAP to offer 24/7/365 support covering a range of topics such as physical wellbeing, mental health, family and relationship counselling, family care, grief, financial counselling, legal counselling, emergency support, and more.
People who recently joined the company will also have to leave the company since the roles they were hired for are no longer available. All new hires whose offers are rescinded have already been notified.