Tuesday, 28 February 2023
by Berkeley Lovelace
Months after acquiring Evernote, Milan-based app developer Bending Spoons has made steep cuts at the note-taking and task management app.
Layoffs took place at Evernote on Friday, February 17, an Evernote spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch, affecting 129 people.
“This was a difficult — yet necessary — decision as we pursue our ambitious plans for Evernote,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch via email. “The company has been unprofitable for years and the situation was unsustainable in the long term.”
The spokesperson wouldn’t confirm which specific departments were impacted. But posts on LinkedIn and Blind suggest the layoffs touched a wide range of core Evernote teams, including the product design, engineering, HR, sales, customer service and marketing departments.
Evernote has indeed had its ups and downs over the past few decades, with mass layoffs in 2015 and 2018 — a year which also saw an exodus of top execs including Evernote’s chief technical officer, chief financial officer, chief product officer and head of HR. But the company appeared to have turned things around more or less, reporting $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) within the last five years.
It’s unlikely Bending Spoons, for its part, was badly hurting for liquidity. The company recently closed a $340 million venture round and eclipsed $100 million in ARR last September.
So what’s the explanation for the cuts? It could be as simple as Bending Spoons priming Evernote for profitability. No doubt, the corporate parent wants a quick return on its investment, and it’s perhaps feeling additional pressure from investors. (Bending Spoons was bootstrapped until relatively recently.)
But it’s also true that Evernote wasn’t particularly competitive. Despite its reported high ARR, prior to the acquisition, the company largely failed to keep pace with competitors like Notion — opting to rely heavily on a consumer-focused freemium model while eschewing the kinds of collaboration features embraced by its rivals.
In any case, staffers are an unfortunate casualty of the circumstances.