The company behind the wellness app Calm has laid off 40% of its staff, according to report from Wall Street Journal citing a memo that CEO

David Ko sent to employees.

The company employs roughly 400 people of which 90% are expected to be axed. According to the memo, Ko told employees that “while some of you will be impacted, all of you will be affected.” Adding that the company’s leadership had decided to “revisited the investment thesis behind every project”, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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While Ko hasn’t explained the lay offs in detail, he has promised to have an “in-depth discussion” about Calm’s future at an all-hands meeting that has been scheduled for 12 August, 2022.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the dozens of the cuts came from the company’s consumer marketing teams.

Calm has been around for the last 10 years, having been founded in 2012 and achieving unicorn status in 2019. The company was the first wellness app to ever do so. A unicorn in the startup sector refers to a privately-held company that has achieved a $1 billion evaluation. In 2020, the company received a $2 billion evaluation after raising $75 billion in funding. Various venture capital firms like Lightspeed Venture Partners and TPG have poured money into the firm. 

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In the last few years, the company directed a lot of its spending towards its marketing budget, it sponsored CNN’s 2020 presidential election as well as a HBO miniseries starring Kate Winslet, Idris Elba and many other top-shelf Hollywood actors. 

Calm is the latest in a long line of companies that have begun cutting costs aggressively, to the detriment of its employees. Fearing a recession, companies like Meta, Amazon, Google and Shopify have either implemented hiring freezes or terminated employees by the dozens, or in Amazon’s case, by the 100,000.