It's more bad news on the tech-layoff front Wednesday as San Francisco-based cloud-communications software firm Twilio announced in an SEC filing that it would be laying off 11% of its global staff, or around 850 people.
CEO Jeff Lawson wrote in a letter to employees — whom he calls "Twilions" — dated today and filed with the SEC, "I’m not going to sugarcoat things. A layoff is the last thing we want to do, but I believe it’s wise and necessary." Lawson said the decision had been made and approved by the company's board to lay off over a tenth of its staff in order to potentially achieve profitability by 2023.
Lawson explains, "Twilio has grown at an astonishing rate over the past couple years. It was too fast, and without enough focus on our most important company priorities. I take responsibility for those decisions, as well as the difficult decision to do this layoff."
The layoffs apparently impact multiple departments, and Lawson says, "we applied a rigorous selection process to examine which roles were most tightly aligned to our four priorities." Those priorities, he said, are "Investing in our platform reliability and trust, increasing the profitability of messaging, accelerating Segment adoption, and scaling the Flex customer base.
All employees being laid off Wednesday were told to expect an email within 60 minutes of this letter going out telling them their role was impacted. Twilio currently employs around 7,800 people.
The company is offering 12 weeks of severance, plus a week for every year the person was with the company. Twilio told the SEC they expect the "restructuring" to incur between $70 million and $90 million in costs, most of it in the third and fourth quarter of this year.
Twilio employees may have seen the writing on the wall over a month ago, when Lawson spoke to CNBC and insisted the company was aiming for profitability by next year.
Analysts have been saying for the better part of this year if not earlier that investors have cooled on the "growth at any cost" philosophy that fueled much of the tech world in the last decade-plus, and that we would see more companies aiming at profitability sooner rather than later.
Twilio's stock has tanked this year, down 73% as if earlier today, as sales have slumped in part due to the return to in-person work, as TechCrunch reports.
In an indication of how layoffs like this play on Wall Street, Twilio's stock was trading up 10% today.
Twilio's layoff announcement follows another just yesterday from SF-based Patreon, which announced it was laying off 17% of its staff.
Top image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17, 2018: A passenger waiting to board his plane walks in front of a sign advertising Twilio at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California. Twilio is a cloud communications platform based in San Francisco. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)