Another one bites the dust.
From Unbounce to Clearco to Shopify, Vancouver-based Article is the latest in a long line of Canadian technology firms who after recently experiencing marked growth abruptly shifts to significant layoffs.
“Today is a very difficult day at Article,” CEO Aamir Baig wrote in a memo. “This is my fault.”
Baig let go of more than 200 “Particles,” as team members are often referred to—nearly one-fifth of the company’s total headcount. He says it was a first for Article.
The 11-year-old BC e-commerce firm has been rapidly growing for several years now—in 2019 it was named Canada’s fastest-growing business by Canadian Business, and just this year saw major revenue growth.
But Baig fell for a similar trap as fellow e-commerce entrepreneur Tobi Lütke of Shopify did.
“Like many e-commerce companies, we benefited tremendously from the demand increase from Covid,” he explains. “We anticipated the trend to online purchasing would be sustained.”
That did not happen, Baig says, and has since returned to pre-Covid trends.
“What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-Covid data would have suggested it should be at this point,” noted Lütke in July after axing 1,000 staff members. “Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong.”
“Put simply, we were living beyond our means,” Baig admitted.
The cofounder says Article has now been resized “to restore our position of financial strength.”