Only a year ago, Staffbase became Saxony’s first billion-dollar startup. Dozens of employees have now had to leave the company, and one group in particular seems to be affected.

Martin Böhringer, CEO and one of the three founders of the Saxon software company Staffbase.

Just over a year ago, the Chemnitz software startup Staffbase had something to celebrate: The startup, which develops an app for employee communication in companies, completed a prestigious round of financing. Investors transferred 106 million euros at the time, and Staffbase’s valuation then climbed over the one billion dollar mark, according to its own statements. The startup, founded in 2014, not only rose to become a unicorn. It was also the first of its kind in the state of Saxony.

Now, however, Staffbase also has to face the harsh reality of the tech scene. As found out by the start-up scene, around 90 employees have been laid off. The company confirmed this on Friday on request. Affected employees have signed severance agreements. A spokeswoman justified the step by wanting to reorganize the business in order to reduce “complexity”. “The central part of the restructuring is the consolidation of our product development at the Berlin and Saxony locations. We are continuing to build staff there while we close other locations.”

Layoffs probably mainly affect employees in subsidiary companies

The company is likely to allude to its most recent acquisitions. In the past three years, Staffbase had acquired several competitors. For example, the Canadian startup Bananatag, the Finnish software provider Valo Solutions and the Koblenz-based company Dirico. Staffbase did not comment on whether and to what extent the layoffs primarily affected employees of these companies. However, current entries on the employer rating portal Kununu suggest so.

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Staffbase joins the increasing number of startups that have had to cut their staff due to cost pressures. Investors have become increasingly cautious, partly because of concerns about inflation and the war in Ukraine. Or they only participate on terms that do not appear very attractive for the startups. That’s why startups like McMakler and Taxfix only cut jobs at the beginning of this week.


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