The online cycling platform Zwift reportedly laid off employees on Monday in its second round of cuts in the last 12 months. The extent of the layoffs is unknown, but it follows a 15% global staff reduction in March of 2023 that left the company with approximately 450 employees last year.
Along with the layoffs, Co-CEO Kurt Beidler has reportedly resigned, leaving co-founder Eric Min as the sole CEO. Biedler was a former senior manager at Amazon before taking up the role with Zwift at the end of 2022. While at Zwift, he led product, tech, and business for the company, according to his LinkedIn profile, which has not yet been changed to reflect his departure.
A statement on the company’s forum announcing the cuts and Beidler’s departure reads, “Zwift remains a healthy, global business with a passionate community. We have seen accelerated growth over the last year but in the current environment, we must focus on sustainable and efficient growth. Zwift will be more agile and focused on delivering great things for our community.”
In something of a self-contradiction, the forum post then pointed to economic headwinds, a common theme in the bike and connected fitness industries right now, as the reason for the cuts. “The business is healthy and our community is growing,” read the forum statement, attributed to a community forum manager. “At the same time, growth has not rebounded at a fast enough pace to justify all of the investments that we have been making. As a result, we are taking action to become leaner with a continued focus on delivering great experiences for our community.”
Sports tech expert DC Rainmaker recently noted that “the general consensus is that [Zwift’s active, paying users] is likely in the 750,000-900,000 range,” a big number both objectively and amongst competing specialist indoor cycling platforms, but less than one-third the total paid active subscribers that Peloton has to its name. Both companies saw increases in active users during the pandemic, but have struggled to maintain that momentum. Peloton’s stock hit a high of almost $163 a share in December 2020 but has lost substantially all of its value since, trading at just over $4 a share after another brutal quarterly report that saw it drop revenue projections again.
As a privately held company, less is known about how Zwift has performed, but repeated layoffs and C-suite turnover suggest some struggles. Despite such cutbacks, the forum statement maintained that the company remains committed to supporting the Tour de Frances Femmes avec Zwift and Paris Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift through to 2025. Meanwhile, there is no active hiring freeze within the company.
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