A total of 90 employees were let go from Porch this week, and at least three high-ranking executives have recently parted ways with the company — part of a broader reshuffling and strategy shift at one of the Seattle region’s fastest-growing and most heavily funded startups.
The cuts, confirmed by GeekWire this morning, are larger and more widespread than initially indicated by the home-improvement data startup. Porch previously acknowledged the layoffs without providing a specific number, instead saying its overall headcount would be reduced by about 50 people after the changes.
While that statement was accurate, the number reflected ongoing hiring in different roles, and the acquisition of the 10-employee San Francisco-based startup Fountain, boosting the resulting headcount and understating the number of people who were let go in the cuts.
A portion of the 90 cuts were related to Porch’s discontinuation of a Home Assistant pilot program, as previously reported, but the cuts went beyond that program to impact employees in other parts of the company, as well. The company, which now employs just over 400 people, down from 450 previously, says it doesn’t plan to make any additional layoffs, and is continuing to hire to fill different positions in line with its strategy.
Separately, at least three Porch executives have left the company recently: Jay Allen, previously the company’s chief technology officer; Joanna Lord, who was the company’s vice president of marketing; and Kiran Akkineni, who was vice president of analytics for the company. James Straub, who was one of the company’s directors of engineering, has also recently left and taken a new position at Amazon.
The company’s general counsel, Gregg Eskenazi, is no longer listed among Porch’s leadership team on its website, but his status at the company isn’t clear.
One former Porch employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, told GeekWire this morning that the departures of Allen and Straub were a shock to the engineering team and prompted some managers and early employees to leave.
Porch is in the process of hiring a CTO. Yesterday, the company announced that it is bringing aboard Eric Doerr, previously a Microsoft general manager, as its first chief product officer; and Jim Dantzler, previously the head of UX Design for Amazon Instant Video, as its vice president of design.
In an interview this morning, Porch CEO Matt Ehrlichman expressed his gratitude to the employees impacted by the changes, and described the shift as difficult but a natural result of Porch adjusting its approach as it experiments and learns. Regarding the Home Assistant program, he said it “was a great test, we learned lots of things, and the team performed admirably, but we decided that we wanted to take that product to market differently led by technology in the future.”
Under the pilot, home assistants worked with homeowners and local service providers, aiming in part to bring in new business for the startup. Porch says it will be focusing on its technology and product offerings after ending the Home Services pilot in Seattle and Chicago, with the Fountain app playing a role.
“Porch is in a healthy spot as a company,” Ehrlichman said. “We’re continuing to hire we’re continuing to grow, and I’m excited about the future.”
Porch in January raised $65 million in new capital in a Series B financing round led by Valor Equity Partners, bringing aboard prominent investors including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and TV personality Ty Pennington.The round brought the company’s total funding to $100 million. Porch’s investors also include Lowe’s Home Improvement, which offers Porch services to its customers as part of a partnership with company.
The company earlier this year signed a lease in the former Zulily building south of downtown Seattle, and has moved a large portion of its employees there from its previous headquarters on Eastlake Avenue.
Porch offers free home-improvement data to homeowners, including detailed information about projects in their neighborhood. The privately held company, which doesn’t disclose its financial results publicly, makes money from its relationships with home-improvement pros, charging them for market insights and promotional exposure.