Huddle, a London startup that raised $51 million (£33.6 million) for its enterprise collaboration software on this date last year, has let go of a number of employees, according to a Business Insider source familiar with the matter.
Huddle competes with larger and better-known Silicon Valley giants like Box and Dropbox but claims that its product is more secure and therefore better-suited to large enterprises and governments. It was tipped as Britain’s next tech IPO at one point.
The startup — cofounded in 2006 by Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin — has made the majority of the job cuts across its marketing department, according to the source.
The source, who works in recruitment at another London startup, said a number of Huddle employees had approached them about a job after being let go. We have asked the source to specify numbers and will update when we hear back.
Tim Deluca-Smith, VP of marketing at Huddle, confirmed there had been a “natural realignment of resources” but the company was unable to reveal any figures.
“Throughout 2015 Huddle has been focused on developing a more vertical go-to-market strategy, largely concentrating effort on advisory, accounting and professional services organisations,” said Deluca-Smith in a statement. “This strategic, vertical alignment is already delivering results, and helping us to bring greater focus to our operations. Part of this process is a natural realignment of resources.”
While it’s not clear exactly how many people have left Huddle, a quick search on LinkedIn reveals that several relatively senior staff have left the company in the last year.
Michaela Lewis, Huddle’s head of customer success for the EMEA region, left in September to join a business intelligence software firm called Domo, while Huddle’s director of talent acquisition, Andrea Marston, left in September to join AOL as international director of talent acquisition. Huddle’s head of corporate communications, Lucy Wimmer, left in March to join human data intelligence company DataSift.
McLoughlin, who also left Huddle in March to become a venture capitalist at SoftTech but still sits on the Huddle board, told Business Insider that he thinks “business is good and steady” at Huddle.
“We’ve slimmed down the teams where we didn’t need that anymore but we’ve been hiring into other areas,” he said. “We made a lost of investment in the last year in US governments, both on the sales side but also on technology.
“We realised that we didn’t need to build a huge inbound marketing engine because the sales cycles were bigger and longer. So we’ve moved from SMB and mid-market marketing through to enterprise marketing, which just requires a different type of team. We’ve continued to hire a really top rate technical team in London.
“We said after the last round [of investment], that would hopefully be the last money into the company. The challenge now is turning hyper growth and massive excitement into a real steady business that won’t need external cash.”
IPO on hold
Folllowing last December’s funding round, which brought total investment in the company up to $89.2 million (£59.2 million), Huddle appointed a new CEO in the form of Morten Brøgger — a Danish man with a background in IT and telecoms.
“Everyone is asking whether Huddle will IPO,” Brøgger told Techworld shortly after his appointment. “I had that discussion with investors at the beginning and we have mutually agreed we’re going to put all these discussions on hold. It’s a tough thing to do if you’re a venture capital firm but right now it’s about taking Huddle into its next growth phase.”