Getaround is latest SoftBank portfolio company to announce layoffs

Silicon Valley’s top valued car rental startup, Getaround, announced layoffs today, making it the latest SoftBank-backed entity of late to pare down its workforce.

The Information, which first reported the news, pegs the layoffs at 150 employees, amounting to around a quarter of the company. In the report, CEO Sam Zaid seemed to lay at least some of the blame for the layoffs on the effects of SoftBank’s recent struggles:

Zaid called SoftBank a “thoughtful partner,” but added that the world’s largest tech investment fund has “had their own challenges, and it’s hard to say that doesn’t have a ripple effect across their whole portfolio.”

Reached for comment, a Getaround spokesperson referred us to a blog post from Zaid confirming the layoffs, with him noting that the company was “reducing field operations and the size of several global teams.”

Getaround has raised over $400 million, the bulk of which was in a $300 million Series D round from SoftBank in mid-2018, funding it has used to dramatically scale the size of its operations. Last year, Getaround spent $300 million to acquire European rival Drivy.

Getaround’s layoffs come as many other SoftBank-backed startups endure struggles of their own. Though none have been quite as dramatic in scale as WeWork, layoffs have also plagued dog-walking startup Wag, car subscription startup Fair, construction company Katerra and, just yesterday, reportedly, at food robotics startup Zume.

SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son has been publicly urging its Vision Fund portfolio companies to focus less on breakneck revenue and user growth and more on generating cash flow. This call was echoed in Zaid’s blog post, where the CEO noted “the importance of balancing growth with efficiency.”

For many of the startup’s dependent on SoftBank’s reserves, that wake up call has seemed to lead to some tough choices and some strategy changes needed to hit moving targets.