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The financial startups bubble is bursting and pink slips are being handed out. Here are the fintechs that have announced layoffs so far, from Coinbase to Robinhood.

·5 min read
Soap bubble bursts in midair
The tech bubble is bursting and people are getting laid offPhoto by Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Rising interest rates are hurting mortgage lenders and some stock trading platforms.

  • Fintech companies like Coinbase and Robinhood are reacting to the slowdown by cutting staff.

  • Here's the list of financial technology company layoffs so far.

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:

 

Coinbase: Roughly 1,100 people

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong.Patrick T. Fallon / Getty Images

On June 14, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced in a blog post the company was laying off 18% of its staff, or roughly 1,100 employees

Employees who spoke to Insider say the company went overboard in hiring — and in what it paid talent.

"For what we did, they paid way too much and they hired too many people, honestly," said one former employee who earned $70,000 to answer phones, which is nearly double the average annual salary of a call-center representative in the US, according to employment website Indeed.

See more here: 

Coinbase laid off 1,100 employees this week. These are some of the teams that were hit the hardest.

Robinhood: More than 300 people

Vlad Tenev Baiju Batt Robinhood cofounders
Robinhood cofounders Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt were "visibly shaken" in announcing jobs cuts in April.Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Robinhood

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.

See more here: 

Robinhood's founders were 'visibly shaken' in announcing layoffs, but insiders say the writing was on the wall. 'There was not enough work and too many people.'

Robinhood has big crypto ambitions, but employees claim product delays, an overly cautious legal team, and turnover in leadership may be getting in the way of success

Better: About 4,000 people

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

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."

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

See more here: 

Better locked staff out of laptops and sent severance to their bank accounts before facing the laid-off employees

Inside Better's week from hell: How America's top startup fell from grace after its Zoom layoffs went viral

Embattled mortgage startup Better offers some remaining employees voluntary layoffs after terminating 4,000 people in the last 5 months

Blend: About 200 employees

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Nima Ghamsari, founder and CEO of BlendBlend

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."

See more here:

Here's why mortgage players, from highflying startups like Better and Blend to traditional lenders like Wells Fargo, are laying off thousands of employees — and why it may get way worse

Mainstreet: About 50 employees

The website homepage of startup MainStreet
MainStreet's homepage as of May 4, 2022.MainStreet

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.

B2B financial startup MainStreet eliminates a third of its staff, citing 'today's incredibly rough market'

PayPal: 4-person emerging technology R&D team

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

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.

See more here:

PayPal just laid off its research team responsible for quantum computing, cryptography, and distributed ledger technology as market pressures squeeze the payments giant

Read the original article on Business Insider