May 20, 2024
Product Hunt cleans house with layoffs impacting 60% of staff | TechCrunch


Product Hunt, the product discovery site for smaller startups, apps, tech tools, and developers’ side projects, is cleaning house. The company earlier this month announced layoffs, but didn’t give an indication of how widespread those cuts were. We now understand the cuts impacted around 60% of the team, including design, product, sales, and other roles. Product Hunt’s about page indicates engineering, ads, and community staff remain.

The layoffs were first publicly announced on October 10th, when CEO Rajiv Ayyangar posted on X in an effort to help connect former employees with hiring opportunities. He wrote:

“This week I did a round of layoffs at Product Hunt across multiple functions. We had to narrow the roles on our team for speed and focus. We’re parting ways with talented individuals who care deeply about their work and teammates. If you’re hiring, dm me – I’d love to connect you.”

The size of the layoff was first leaked by longtime Product Hunt user, Chris Messina, an open source advocate and tech veteran turned investor. Messina, who is still active on the site, has hunted 3690 products over the years — more than any other Product Hunt user, allowing him a close connection to the company and its team.

On Threads, he wrote that Product Hunt had cut 70% of staff, but the CEO tells us that figure was a little high.

“It was actually around 60% of the team,” Ayyangar explained. “Our About page was a little out of date,” he noted.

Ayyangar, a former Product Hunt user himself, had only just joined the company in September after prior roles as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Dropbox and CEO and co-founder of virtual office startup Tandem.

In his introduction to the Product Hunt community, the new exec hinted that changes were ahead for the product discovery platform. He suggested that while the site remained the best place to discover your next favorite product before they went mainstream (we’d argue that place is TechCrunch, of course), the company admittedly had not “done a great job of helping people find the best product for their needs, despite the wealth of contributions we’ve collected from our community,” he wrote.

In addition, Ayyangar suggested that the site needed to leverage new technology, like AI, as well as moderation and other tooling to get better at spotlighting what’s new in tech. And while it would still continue to exist as a launch platform, it was also adding other features that took it beyond the launch, like “Pro Tips” product pages that would serve as a wiki for favorite products, he said.

Ayyanger tells TechCrunch the layoffs were not due to economic factors.

“It wasn’t for financial or company performance reasons,” he said. “Traffic has never been higher and we’re in a great place, financially. It was for strategic reasons.”

The laid-off staff did receive severance, he also noted.

It’s an interesting time for Product Hunt to redefine itself, given the explosion in AI advances that make single-purpose, smaller tools that developers would tinker around with in their spare time less of an interest. Businesses, meanwhile, are looking to cut costs during the economic downturn, which means reducing SaaS (software-as-a-service) spending by 10% to 30%, as TechCrunch recently reported. That begs the question as to how many companies would be willing to experiment with new SaaS products, like those they’d discover on Product Hunt or elsewhere.

Originally a YC and a16z-backed startup, Product Hunt was acquired by AngelList for $20 million in 2016, spun out in 2020, and in 2021 inspired a new fund, Hyper, which would exist as a sister company for the site. The program included an exclusive Product Hunt launch event and investor demo day. Hyper’s program has now been sunset and it isn’t running any new batches, Ayyangar confirmed to TechCrunch. However, the team would continue to support the companies already in its portfolio, he said.

 

Sarah Perez can be reached at sarahp@techcrunch.com or (415) 234-3994 on Signal.





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