Nuro, the autonomous delivery startup, backed by SoftBank, Google and Tiger Global Management, is laying off about 20 percent of its workers, or about 300 people, according to an email obtained by TechCrunch.
Founders Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson said that Nuro had grown too fast last year thanks to an abundance of capital and a growing sense of competition. But now the company is facing economic challenges, which include inflation and a looming US recession. That's why the founders are forced to cut costs, including headcount.
Each and every one of you have made important contributions to this company, and saying goodbye to talented Nurons is not a decision we have taken lightly. For those of you leaving Nuro, we are very sorry for this outcome — this is not the experience we wanted to create for you. We made this call and take full responsibility for today’s circumstances.
Nuro raised $600 million in a Series D funding round last year. The company was valued at around $8.6 billion, attracting high-profile investors such as Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Google, etc.
Amid the success, the company doubled the size of its team and significantly increased its operating costs, believing that the funding conditions would remain favourable.
Employees who are laid off will receive a severance package including 12 weeks' pay (or up to 14 weeks for employees with two or more years' service), as well as fringe benefits.
The company also highlighted recent partnerships, such as the Uber Eats deal, as signs that the business remains strong. And the company still has "over a billion dollars” on its balance sheet, the founders wrote.
Nuro was founded by Google exits in 2016. It develops fully autonomous cars and was the first company to receive a special exemption from some federal safety requirements, and the first to charge for driverless delivery in California.