SoundHound Lays Off Half Its Staff, Offers ‘Pitiful’ Severance


Voice AI company SoundHound laid off nearly half of its remaining employees (about 200) last week, according to an email from its CEO seen by Gizmodo, along with three employees who lost their jobs. Large-scale staff reductions were made. Additionally, a former SoundHound employee faces a rough landing. Their retirement package does not include health care and only two weeks of severance pay. Former employees said they didn’t know what would happen to them if the company couldn’t secure additional funding.

A former employee said, “I’m sorry.”

“I’m really shocked by the way layoffs are being handled,” one of the employees who was laid off told Gizmodo. expected to provide retirement benefits for

The serious layoffs come just two months after another layoff that eliminated 10% of the company’s workforce. I am suffering from a pay cut. Soundhound had 450 employees before he was laid off, but according to a former employee, the staff was cut by more than 50% in just three months.

In an email to staff, Soundhound co-founder and CEO Keevan Mohajer outlined a period of rapid growth in 2021, but changing market conditions have forced the company to reassess its financials and forecast profitability in 2023. He said it was necessary to accelerate the road to

“Tech companies like SoundHound have been darlings of the investor community as they set their course for going public in early 2021,” Mohajer wrote. “Companies that can achieve high growth despite high costs were seen as the engine of the economy of the future. companies with a profile of .

SoundHound did not respond to multiple Gizmodo requests for comment.

Mohajer added personal reflections on his meeting with investors to the email. , and business strategy. ”

Mohajer concludes with a line that should be a sobering consolation to both the remaining employees and the one he has let go.

The CEO seems to have found the “heart” to fire an employee.

many others Estimate The 107,000 tech workers who lost their jobs as part of the recent tech downturn were offered comfortable retirement packages. In their case, former employees said they would only get two weeks of severance pay and no health care, and one employee who added SoundHound’s HR said retirement would require the company to raise additional funds. Employees asked to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize the retirement benefits they may receive.

SoundHound’s trajectory Something familiar in the tech industry this yearBig companies like Amazon, Snap and Meta expanded their workforces in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic began, but faced major economic headwinds in late 2022 and 2023. Amazon nearly doubled the size of its employee layoffs last week, from his 10,000 to his 18,000. .

Founded in 2005 by a group of Stanford University alumni, SoundHound has become a leading provider of AI voice software used by various celebrities. For example, music streaming service Pandora uses SoundHound’s platform to allow customers to pause, play and skip songs using just their voice. Snap uses SoundHound technology to provide a real-time automated captioning service with its Voice Scan camera search feature. The company also has a pair of his mobile apps, SoundHound Music and Hound, used for Shazam-like music discovery and voice search assistance, respectively.soundhound went public The company’s customers include Mercedes-Benz, Snap, Netflix and other brands across multiple industries.

“It’s really disappointing to see SoundHound’s once bright future ruined by management decisions made after going public,” one of the laid off employees told Gizmodo. “When the process began, the outcome of the public offering was not easily predictable, but it became clear that much less cash would be raised than anticipated, so cash flow rather than the unlimited hiring that took place. Steps should have been taken to maintain

Massive layoffs come two months after the company. reportedly Moved to cut about 10% of staff. According to one former employee, in addition to layoffs, an unknown number of employees at the time suffered a 20% pay cut.

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