Hospitality startup Sonder slashes workforce

VC-backed company has raised $345M to date

Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Linkedin, iStock)
Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Linkedin, iStock)

With travel at a standstill, venture-backed hospitality company Sonder has cut one-third of its staff.

The San Francisco-based company has laid off or furloughed 400 people, The Information reported. With residents of major U.S. cities sheltering in place, bookings are down 20 percent at the company’s 5,000 apartments across the U.S. The layoffs hit multiple departments, including engineering.

“If we pull these levers simultaneously, we have a chance,” CEO Francis Davidson said. “There isn’t a single line that won’t come under deep scrutiny.”

Having raised $345 million from investors to date, Sonder claims to be valued at more than $1 billion. The company said it is not running out of money, but investors have still committed to investing more to give Sonder a cushion.

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As businesses reel from the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality sector in particular has screeched to a halt, and other VC-backed companies have also announced cuts.

Last month, San Francisco-based Lyric, which has raised $160 million and is backed by Airbnb, laid off 20 percent of its staff. San Francisco-based Waanderjaunt laid off 15 percent to 20 percent of its 240-person staff, and Austin-based The Guild, which has raised $50 million, laid off 38 of 175 staffers. [The Information] — E.B. Solomont

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