San Francisco Chronicle

Twilio latest S.F. tech company set for staff layoffs

- By Chase DiFelician­tonio Reach Chase DiFelician­tonio: chase.difelician­tonio@ sfchronicl­; Twitter: @ChaseDiFel­ice

“For the last 15 years, we ran Twilio for growth . ... But environmen­ts change — and so must we.” CEO Jeff Lawson

San Francisco cloud software maker Twilio told employees Monday it planned to lay off 17% of its workforce, around 1,500 of the nearly 9,000 employees the company said it had as of September of last year.

CEO Jeff Lawson wrote in a note posted on the company’s website that “For the last 15 years, we ran Twilio for growth, building a tremendous customer base, product set, and revenue base. But environmen­ts change — and so must we.”

He said the company needed to spend less and would form two separate business units — Twilio Communicat­ions and Twilio Data & Applicatio­ns — to that end. Lawson highlighte­d the communicat­ions division, in particular, as needing to run more efficientl­y.

The layoffs come after Lawson told employees last September the company would cut 11% of its workforce as part of a continuing effort to strive for profitabil­ity.

It was not immediatel­y clear how many employees in San Francisco and the Bay Area would be affected by the most recent cuts. The California Employment Developmen­t Department said in an email it had yet to receive a notice of the layoff.

In his note to employees Monday, Lawson said U.S. employees would get 12 weeks of pay plus another week for each additional year worked at the company. He promised health coverage and career resources, but did not say for how long. “You’ll also receive the full value of Twilio’s February 15 vest,” he wrote.

Lawson said the company would also be paring back some of its perks in an industry that has long used them to hire new employees and draw talent away from competitor­s. He said allowances for books and wellness activities would end, as well as “Twilio Recharge,” a multi-week time off period that employees receive after a certain number of years at the company.

The company will also close more offices, “with the intent of maintainin­g at least a handful of global hubs and satellite offices,” Lawson said, without providing details about where and when.

The company announced last year it would become a remote-first company.

Many tech companies, including Google, Salesforce and Amazon, which brought on thousands and in some cases tens of thousands of new staff during the pandemic have been paring back on personnel costs as the global economic outlook darkens.

Twilio did not appear immune to that trend. When the company announced its plans to go remote-first in May of last year, it also said it had hired 72% of its employees during the pandemic. With the layoffs announced Monday and in September the company would still seem to be larger than before its pandemic hiring spree.

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