Around a year ago, Tier Mobility was winning the shared micromobility game. Fueled by its $200 million Series D fundraise in October 2021, the company went on to acquire three other micromobility operators and a computer vision startup, giving it access to e-bikes — a reach that extended beyond Europe and into the U.S. — and the tech needed to assuage politicians' fears over safety.
Today, Tier is in the midst of another round of layoffs. As a result of previous restructurings, Tier is laying off around 80 workers, some of whom are under the Nextbike umbrella, to make up for redundancies. Tier had purchased the German bike-share startup in November 2021 to expand its vehicle offerings beyond e-scooters.
Tier said the layoffs announced Wednesday will affect 7% of its overall staff headcount. While some teams will be more affected than others, the restructuring affects employees across the organization.
The most recent staff cuts follow Tier's decision to let 180 employees go back in August, blaming a poor funding environment and uncertain economic conditions.
The micromobility operator is also reducing the size of its Spin workforce by about 20 employees. Tier originally bought Spin from Ford in March 2022, a move that gave the company widespread access to the U.S. Seven months later, Tier then laid off almost 80 Spin workers and exited Seattle and Canada. The company went on to let go of an additional 30 Spin employees in December when it decided to leave another 10 U.S. cities.
A Tier spokesperson told TechCrunch the company tried to rematch workers from redundant roles with any open roles at Tier and Nextbike to retain as many people as possible.
'All-out growth mode' to 'profitability first'
How did Tier go from being the largest micromobility player in the world to now announcing layoffs every few months? Sure, the macroeconomic climate has affected most tech companies, and Tier is hardly the only micromobility operator to announce staff cuts (lookin' at you, Bird.) It seems that Tier, like most other tech companies facing hard decisions, was expanding for a pace of economic growth that's simply not being realized in pre-recession 2023.
Tier CEO and co-founder Lawrence Leuschner said today's round of layoffs is part of a pivot in the company's overall strategy, "from all-out growth mode to a 'profitability first' mindset."
The restructuring will include the closure of "a small number of cities where we do not see a path to profitability" due to factors like unfavorable regulatory approaches, said the company. Tier did not say which cities it would exit, but the operator's future in Paris currently hangs in the balance as the city votes whether or not to renew the permits of Tier, Lime and Dott. However, the city's strict regulations might just make it unprofitable for Tier to be in Paris at this point.
Tier is also shutting down a number of side projects, like its own vehicle design program and the Tier Energy Network, the company's plan to place charging stations in retail stores to incentivize riders to swap scooter batteries for rewards. On the other hand, the company will be winding up its monthly scooter subscription service, MyTier.
"Downsizing is challenging for any business and particularly difficult for a company like Spin, which has already made fundamental changes to the business to ensure its long-term future," said Philip Reinckens, CEO at Spin. "We are confident that the measures to increase revenue while reducing costs via further integration with our parent company will accelerate the company's path to profitability."