Humane laid off 4 percent of employees this week in a move that was described as a cost cutting measure to those who were impacted, according to sources familiar with the matter. Employees were recently told by leadership that budgets would be lowered this year, said one of the people, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission.
The cuts, which numbered 10 people, come ahead of the five-year-old startup shipping its first device: a $699, screenless, AI-powered pin that is pitched as a smartphone replacement. After a lot of hype and secrecy, Humane unveiled the AI Pin to the world in November and began accepting preorders, with shipments planned to begin in March.
Humane has raised over $200 million from a who’s-who of Silicon Valley, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. CEO Bethany Bongiorno and her husband, Imran Chaudhri, started the company in 2019 after spending long careers at Apple.
After I asked Bongiorno to provide a statement for this story, she instead went to LinkedIn to describe the cuts as “part of a wider refresh of our organizational structure as our company evolves with purpose for this next phase of growth.”
In the post, she announced that founding CTO Patrick Gates “will also be transitioning to an advisor in order to spend more time with his family.” She said the company had promoted new heads of hardware, software, and people as part of a reorganization.
In a text message, Bongiorno told me that the cuts were “not communicated as a layoff” to those who were impacted, despite sources telling me that they were — both verbally and in writing. “It goes without saying that, like every company, we have a responsibility to remain prudent and proactive, ensuring we have the right roles, right people, and the right structure at every juncture,” she said.