Top tech startup news for Monday, March 6, 2023: Bankjoy, Embark, Google, Qualtrics, and Tenderly
Good evening! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for today Monday, March 6, 2023.
Google warns employees that the company won’t promote as many employees to senior staff positions this year
Google won’t be promoting as many employees to senior staff positions this year due to a slowdown in growth, the company said in an email to employees on Monday. Google said that fewer of them will be receiving promotions in the upcoming performance review cycle, CNBC reported, citing an email viewed by the publication.
The tech giant warns employees that fewer of them will receive promotions to more senior levels this year than in the past. “The process is manager-led and will be largely similar to last year — though with our slower pace of hiring, we are planning for fewer promotions into L6 and above than when Google was growing quickly,” the search giant said.
Google said it’s promoting fewer people to senior roles “to ensure that the number of Googlers in more senior and leadership roles grows in proportion to the growth of the company.”
“If your manager believes that you are ready to be promoted, they will nominate you,” the email said. Workers in technical roles who want to “self-nominate” will have a “short window of time” between March 6-8 to do so, the email said.
In January, Google’s parent Alphabet announced it was cutting about 12,000 jobs or 6% of its workforce. CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email that the tech giant will begin making layoffs in the U.S. immediately. In other countries, the process “will take longer due to local laws and practices,” he added.
Tech layoffs surge past 100,000 as tech companies lay off 123,882 employees so far in 2023
Tech layoffs surge past 100,000 as 454 tech companies laid off a total of 123,882 employees so far in 2023. The good news is that tech companies aren’t letting go of their employees at the scale recorded in January when 65,000 tech workers were fired from their jobs, according to finance and startup news site CrunchBase, which has been tracking job cuts data since 2022.
However, by comparison, February was not as bad when about 28,000 U.S. tech employees lost their jobs, making it the third-worst layoff month since the start of 2022. Also in February, Facebook parent company Meta Platforms also announced it planned a fresh round of layoffs that could affect thousands of workers just a few weeks after CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised no more layoffs.
During the month, Elon Musk’s Twitter has laid off another 200 people in its latest round of job cuts, the New York Times reported late on Sunday. The current layoff, which represents 10% of the current workforce, reduced headcount to less than 2,000 vs. 7,500 when Elon Musk took it over in October, the New York Times reported late on Sunday.
While the job cuts continue to rise, the silver lining is that the tech layoffs are feeding a surge in the number of new startups. According to Wired, hundreds of thousands of tech workers who lost their jobs have decided to build their own companies instead of looking for new jobs.
The recent layoffs add to a steadily growing number of job cuts in the tech sector. Just last week, Alphabet’s Waymo laid off another 137 employees in its second round of job cuts this year, bringing total cuts for the year to 200, or 8% of its workforce after the company reported its initial job cuts in January. In a statement, the company said it eliminated some engineering roles as part of the cuts to “focus on commercial success.” The company has now laid off a total of 209 jobs so far this year.
Qualtrics, a survey startup SAP acquired in 2018 for $8 billion, receives a $12.4 billion buyout offer from Silver Lake and Canada’s CPPIB
Qualtrics said on Monday it has received a $12.4 billion go-private offer from private equity firm Silver Lake Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Reuters reported.
The new offer values Qualtrics at $18.15 per share. Qualtrics has gained over 8 percent in value since the start of February when Silver Lake first expressed interest in buying the survey software maker. SAP is a majority investor in Qualtrics with a 71% stake while Silver Lake holds a nearly 4.2% stake. SAP bought Qualtrics in 2019 for $8 billion from founder Ryan Smith.
We wrote about Qualtrics four years ago after the company was acquired for $8 billion in an all-cash deal. The announcement came just before Qualtrics planned IPO.
Qualtrics is a software maker which competes with SurveyMonkey in the survey software market. Qualtrics is a competitor of SurveyMonkey. However, Qualtrics has a much richer feature set than SurveyMonkey. Qualtrics has grown faster over the years and is also more profitable.
Qualtrics was originally founded in 2002 by Jared Smith, Ryan Smith, and Stuart Orgill. The company provides a technology platform that organizations use to collect, manage, and act on experience data, also called X-data. The Qualtrics XM Platform is a system of action, used by teams, departments, and entire organizations to manage the four core experiences of business—customer, product, employee, and brand—on one platform.
Bankjoy raises new funding from Curql to grow its mobile banking platform for credit unions & community banks
BankJoy is a Y Combinator and Bessemer Venture Partner-backed FinTech startup co-founded by Michael Duncan with Weiwei Duncan. The startup offers modern banking technology, including mobile banking, online banking, e-statements, online account opening, loan applications, and AI-powered voice banking to credit unions — big and small.
Today, Bankjoy announced it has raised new a funding round led by Curql Collective to further grow its operations and support increasing customers’ demands. The round is also backed by several of Bankjoy’s current and prospective credit union clients, including AEA Credit Union, Community Wide Federal Credit Union, and Statewide Federal Credit Union. The total amount of the transaction was not disclosed.
Curql Collective is a Credit Union Service Organization spurring fintech innovation for credit unions. Curql was launched in 2020 by a collective of credit unions, including former founders, operators, and leaders in the fintech and investment spaces.
Bankjoy will use the funding proceeds to support its continued growth and facilitate ongoing product innovation to provide a best-in-class digital banking experience and go after new opportunities.
“We are thrilled to bring Curql on as an investor as Bankjoy continues to grow, as this latest round of funding will allow us to pursue new opportunities to redefine the digital banking experience and help more community financial institutions thrive in an increasingly competitive environment,” Duncan said.
Today, Bankjoy’s clients include more than 60 financial institutions nationwide and the company’s end-to-end digital banking platform is now accessible to more than one million credit union members and bank account holders. Led by a team of credit union executives, Bankjoy delivers modern banking technology, including mobile and online banking, e-statements, online account opening, online loan origination, and conversational AI to financial institutions of all sizes.
Embark, a self-driving truck startup that went public in 2021, lays off 70% of its staff and mulls ‘shutting down completely’
Self-driving truck company Embark announced Friday it would lay off 70% of its employees and start evaluating options, including “shutting down completely.” The job cut is expected to impact about 230 employees. The company lost nearly a third of its value on Monday after the news.
The announcement came after a very difficult year for self-driving trucking companies like Plus, TuSimple, and Embark, as developing fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) has proven harder and more expensive than expected. In an email to Embark employees on Friday, founder and CEO Alex Rodrigues said:
“Today, having exhausted all alternatives, we are taking the incredibly difficult step of laying off ~70% of the company, and shutting down our SoCal (Southern California) and Houston offices.”
“Over the next handful of weeks, we will work closely with the Embark Board of Directors to evaluate our options, including selling assets, restructuring the company or shutting down completely,” Rodrigues added.
Embark said it expects to incur charges of between $7 million to $11 million related to the workforce reduction, Reuters reported.
We wrote about Embark in 2021 after the company went public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II at a market capitalization of $5.2 billion.
Embark was co-founded in 2016 by Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak. The company builds self-driving truck technology to make roads safer and transportation more efficient. Embark’s technology is already moving freight for five Fortune 500 companies in the southwest U.S. By moving real freight through our purpose-built transfer hubs.
Tenderly completes its integration with Boba Network to enable developers to build dependable smart contracts
Tenderly, an all-in-one web3 development platform that enables developers to build, debug, test, and run reliable dapps, announced today that it has now fully integrated with the first multichain Layer-2 blockchain scaling solution Boba Network.
The announcement comes just four months after Tenderly completed its first phase of integration with Moonbeam to bring many essential dev tools and a unified user and developer experience.
The latest integration now extends Tenderly support to four chains including Ethereum, Binance, Moonbeam, and Avalanche. As a result, developers on the Web3 platform will now be able to use the Tenderly platform for building on the Boba Network and contributing to Ethereum’s scalability initiatives.
By utilizing Tenderly’s all-in-one Web3 development platform, developers can now build reliable smart contracts on the Boba Network with reduced risks and a streamlined workflow. This integration unlocks new opportunities for developers, who can take advantage of Tenderly’s development, observability, and infrastructure tools to create even more intelligent applications on the Boba Network.
Smart contract developers can access a range of functionalities through Tenderly, including the Debugger, Gas Profiler, Transaction Simulator, Forks, Alerting, and Web3 Actions. These features enable developers to design, optimize, monitor and operate dependable smart contracts.
Boba Network is a computation-based Layer 2 scaling solution that provides an easy way for Web3 developers to build on or bridge to the Boba Network.