Events app maker DoubleDutch downsizes again, lays off 40 percent of staff

DoubleDutch, a startup providing mobile apps and analytics for events and conferences is downsizing again. The company has just announced another round of layoffs, affecting roughly 40 percent its workforce, TechCrunch learned and DoubleDutch confirmed. Around 70 positions were eliminated, including those in senior leadership roles.

DoubleDutch’s CFO, CCO, VP of Customer Success and others are out as a result of the changes, among others, though some, like CFO Brad Roberts, will remain in advisory roles for the time being.

The core product and engineering team and core go-to-market team remain, including CEO Lawrence Coburn, co-founder Pankaj Prasad, CRO Dave Simon, CMO Emily He, VP of Engineering Marlin Scott, and CTO Nicholas Clark.

Founded in 2011, DoubleDutch raised over $78 million to fund the development of its mobile tools for event organizers. This includes the ability for event hosts to create apps for their conferences, trade shows, concerts, and other events, as well as track analytics around engagement. If you’ve ever downloaded a custom events app, there’s a decent chance you may have used a DoubleDutch product.

These new layoffs follow a prior round DoubleDutch held last July, when 55 employees were let go as a part of a company-wide restructuring. At the time, those departures had accounted for 25 percent of DoubleDutch’s global workforce.

The company explained then that the layoffs were necessitated by the need to reach for profitability and its plan to move up the market as DoubleDutch built out its enterprise platform.

That plan is still underway, Coburn says. He explains that what happened at DoubleDutch was that the company grew so fast and was picking up business without having a good sense of how stable those customers were. As it turned out, only a portion of their customer base was healthy – those for whom events are strategic and who run programs at scale. Meanwhile, there was a ton of churn with its SMB customers.

Currently, the DoubleDutch website lists customers including CenturyLink, Rite Aid, BlackRock, Gainsight, NRECA, Marketo, Episerver, PRSA, Sime, Decoded Fashion, SaaStr, ASAE, US Navy League, UBM Tech, Messe Frankfurt, CalABA, and The eLearning Guild.

Coburn says the team executed well on its plan to transition away from smaller customers, which is why this new round of layoffs is bittersweet.

“That transition…has taken time,” Coburn admits. “It’s going to sound really weird, but we had a good 2016, especially the second half. We did everything we set out to do, and it’s really one of the painful parts of this. I asked the team to do these things, and they did these things. We just weren’t going to get there fast enough,” he says.

The decision, then, was to do the further staff reductions while DoubleDutch was still a category leader, and could take care of people on their way out, instead of doing it more defensively at a later date, Coburn says, adding that layoffs weren’t the company’s only option. (He declined to offer further details on this point, though the space has seen some notable M&A activity in recent months.)

Today, there are still a number of event app makers on the market, including EventMobi, Quickmobile, Bizzabo, Guidebook, Attendify, and many others. But DoubleDutch only sees Cvent as its main rival.

1-passiveactive-1As you may recall,  Cvent and Lanyon merged last year, and Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Cvent for $1.65 billion was finalized following scrutiny from antitrust regulators. The move made the new Cvent the largest software firm focused on event management services.

Cvent, however, pitches an end-to-end solution for event organizer, including registration, workflow planning, and the mobile app, which is different from DoubleDutch’s narrower focus on its feature-rich events app product.

DoubleDutch’s app is designed to feel like a private social network, which leads to increased engagement, and more data being generated. Hundreds of millions of datapoints per month, in fact, notes the CEO.

“The big bet for our business is that data is going to matter for our customers. They’re going to care about that data the same way they care about the data in their CRM or their marketing automation system,” he says.

Coburn remains optimistic about the software’s future. “The world is coming our way. We need to make sure that we’re here for it, with a key team intact, and with the funds to really go after that opportunity.”

DoubleDutch heads into 2017 largely on the same course as before, but with a smaller headcount. Following the layoffs, Coburn says the company won’t have to raise again unless it wants to.