Melbourne-based link-in-bio company Linktree, a startup that garnered unicorn status after securing a near $2 billion valuation this time last year, is shedding more than a quarter of its Australian and New Zealand workforce in a bid to grow its base in the US.
The move has coincided with Linktree acquiring San Francisco-based competitor Bento for an undisclosed sum as the company adds fuel to its international expansion plans.
The cutbacks on the home front come on the heels of the company last year sacking 17 per cent of its staff amid challenging market conditions taking its headcount from 280 to about 230.
The latest job cuts, totalling 27 per cent of Australian and NZ staff, will take Linktree’s workforce down to less than 170.
Linktree co-founder and CEO Alex Zaccaria announced the job losses in a blog to employees today, pitching the move as essential for the company’s future growth.
“Today we have some hard but essential operational decisions to share with you that will better position the business to continue to grow, focus and achieve its ultimate potential,” Zaccaria says.
“As a business born and bred in Australia, it is difficult for us to have to make these changes.
“Whilst we will be a leaner local team, I want those of you remaining to know how important you are to our next stage of growth – I guarantee you we will not lose our roots as we expand our US presence.”
Linktree, founded in 2016 by Zaccaria, his brother Anthony and Nicky Humphreys, provides tools for clients that allow them to share multiple links on social media.
The company now has more than 35 million users, referred to as Linkers, worldwide and 40,000 sign ups a day that Zaccaria says are ‘growing faster than ever’.
“The US is now our largest market with our largest opportunity, and the vast majority of our signups come from this region, meaning it is essential we are able to further expand the team based there,” Zaccaria says.
“Linktree’s value, impact and rising brand awareness is taking shape in the US, recently welcoming both the White House and the Denver Nuggets to the platform through organic channels.”
Zaccaria says Linktree has managed to build momentum in the US despite 'very few Linkies’ being based in the country.
“We need to focus on our growth in the US and hire people with deep experience building products for this specific audience,” he says.
“It is for this reason we are making the decision to move certain roles from Australia to the US across our product, engineering, marketing and design teams.
“To be able to hire for those roles and further our growth in the US, we will be reducing our overall team by about 27 per cent today, primarily impacting Linkies based in Australia and New Zealand.”
As Linktree builds its workforce in the US, Zaccaria says the company is ‘committed to an evenly distributed team between Australia and the US by the end of the year’.
“We are also committed to ensuring development and progression opportunities for everyone across the company, regardless of geographic location,” he says.
Linktree last year was valued at US$1.3 billion ($1.97 billion) after securing US$110 million ($166 million) in funding from Index Ventures and Coatue, pushing it into unicorn territory.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Bento has been described by Zaccaria as an example of the ‘super strategic’ opportunities that can help the company achieve its growth potential.
He says Bento is ‘one of the newest, most visually stunning and powerful link platforms’.
“We’ve seen a lot of competitors come and go as the category we created, and continue to lead, exploded.
“We look at numerous opportunities and rarely do we find a company and competitor that aligns with our strategy, cares for Linkers, and accelerates our growth and vision of empowering anyone to curate and grow their digital universe.”
The Bento team, including founders Selim Benayat and Mugeeb Hassan, will officially join Linktree on 19 June.
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