QuoteWizard, an online insurance finder based in Seattle, has laid off around 50 people or about 30 percent of its staff. Most of the layoffs were positions in its Seattle office, located in Pioneer Square, with a few in its recently opened Denver office.
The bootstrapped startup has been family owned since its founding in 2006, and was once one of the fastest growing companies in Washington state. The company— whose services are used by more than 8,000 agents in the U.S. — expanded to almost 200 employees last year and opened its Denver satellite office in May. It had planned to add about 50 employees this year.
“We made these difficult decisions as part of our effort to remain competitive in an extremely challenging environment where industry dynamics have recently shifted, customer budgets are constrained and competition has continued to escalate,” Scott Peyree, QuoteWizard CEO, said in an emailed statement. The cuts were first reported by The Seattle Times.
According to the statement, shifts in the insurance industry and a lack of willingness to spend marketing dollars has hit the company hard, leading to these layoffs and a few earlier cuts in August.
In May, CEO Scott Peyree said that QuoteWizard was on track to do $100 million in revenue this year, and he noted that revenue number could double by 2020. The company makes money by letting insurance providers purchase leads online, and the service is free to end users.
Here’s the full statement that QuoteWizard sent to GeekWire on Wednesday afternoon:
QuoteWizard announced that it has reduced its workforce by approximately 50 positions effective immediately. This includes a mix of voluntary and involuntary layoffs.
These layoffs are tied to a broader effort to make QuoteWizard more efficient in aligning resources to meet customer needs in what has become a challenging business climate.
In recent quarters, major insurance carriers have significantly shifted or reduced their marketing budgets and this has affected QuoteWizard directly. This is due to a combination of competitive factors in the industry, as well as the financial impact of recent natural disasters.
More than 100 employees and both the company’s Seattle and Denver offices remain.
“We made these difficult decisions as part of our effort to remain competitive in an extremely challenging environment where industry dynamics have recently shifted, customer budgets are constrained and competition has continued to escalate,” said Scott Peyree, QuoteWizard CEO. “We are taking these steps to make QuoteWizard a much leaner and more agile organization which is what is needed to compete effectively.”
“I understand the impact that this will have on our employees,” Peyree added. “This is not a decision that was made lightly and QuoteWizard remains committed to our employees and to delivering our customers the best possible products and services in positioning the business for future success.”
Peyree concluded, “We have hired more than 100 employees in recent years and have unfortunately found that the industry is not currently positioned to support this level of growth. Looking beyond this difficult period, we believe there’s opportunity for QuoteWizard to sustainably grow in areas such as clicks, calls, and the continued emergence of our health insurance offerings.”