Proptech startup Rhino lays off over 20% of its staff

Company that offers alternative to security deposits cited market volatility, desire to reach profitability faster

Rhino co-founders Paraag Sarva
Rhino co-founders Paraag Sarva

Rhino, a proptech startup that offers an alternative to security deposits, has laid off 57 employees, or more than 20 percent of its staff, The Real Deal has learned.

Employees were informed of the cuts in an email Thursday morning from CEO Paraag Sarva. Those to be let go were invited to a noon meeting, according to a laid-off staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The layoffs were effective immediately, and those employees were offered severance packages, the source said, declining to offer specifics. Many were recent hires.

The cuts come a year after Rhino raised $95 million at a $500 million valuation in what was described as a “pre-IPO” round — the last private raise before the company goes public — led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Kairos and Lakestar.

A company spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in an email, citing the company’s desire to achieve profitability more quickly, and the need to remain nimble in a volatile macroeconomic climate. No executives were let go.

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“Part of building a high-growth company like Rhino is understanding the macroeconomic environment and being able to respond,” the spokesperson said, later adding “[W]e’ve decided to restructure the company to accelerate our path to profitability and make us less reliant on the capital markets through whatever volatility we all see this year.”

After the layoffs, 198 employees will remain. The company is continuing to hire for “key technology roles,” the spokesperson said.

The New York-based startup, co-founded by Sarva and Ankur Jain in 2017, allows renters to pay their security deposits in small, incremental amounts rather than in an upfront lump sum. It claims to have saved renters $500 million so far on move-in costs.

Proptech investment soared in 2021. But inflation, labor shortages and a host of other macroeconomic issues have roiled markets in recent weeks, deflating the value of many proptech firms that were already struggling in the public sphere. That will make raising money more difficult and is putting pressure on startups to accelerate their timetables for profitability.

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