Pebble preps for substantial layoffs: “money [in Silicon Valley] is pretty tight these days”
Pebble beat some of the biggest names in mobile to the smartwatch party, setting crowdfunding records when it first introduced the original Pebble smartwatch. Over the past three years, we’ve seen Pebble grow from selling that first-gen model to introducing the Pebble Steel, and later the color-screen Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel, and Pebble Time Round. That new hardware’s been joined by a redesigned software experience, to say nothing of Pebble’s own app and watchface ecosystem, and while this growth has been great to see, competition from major smartphone companies has only gotten fiercer and fiercer. Unfortunately for Pebble, it looks like its ambitions may have gotten a little ahead of it, and today the company revealed plans to lay off a full quarter of its staff later this week.
It isn’t that Pebble’s not still bringing in money, and in addition to sales of its smartwatch lineup, the company also generated $26 million in investments since the middle of last year. But even with that new cash in hand, the company’s feeling pressure to tighten up its operation, and that means letting go 40 employees – a not insignificant number for a firm this size.
CEO Eric Migicovsky shared news of these layoffs while talking about a growing focus on health and fitness features for Pebble wearables going forward. He didn’t confirm any new models, but spoke of being “careful this year as we plan our products.”
Update: Tech Insider has revised its article to add context to Migicovsky’s quote: his comment about money being tight was in reference to venture capital in Silicon Valley in general, not in regards to Pebble’s own finances. Migicovsky also acknowledges the influx of cash those recent investments brought in, but has no illusions as to just how far those funds might go: “We got this money, but money is pretty tight these days.” Hopefully the reduced overhead the company will see as a result of this week’s layoffs will help that money go even further, or else we might be hearing about even more staff cuts in the future.