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Form lays off 18 as Vancouver tech cuts continue
Economic headwinds continue to buffer the local ecosystem.
Local AR swim goggles outfit Form has laid off 18 employees. It’s at least the third major example of cuts for Vancouver-based companies in 2023, including Thinkific (76 employees on January 10) and Hootuite (70 employees on January 18.)
"As a result of the uncertain economic climate, we’ve made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of our staff,” Form founder and CEO Dan Eisenhardt told Vancouver Tech Journal. “We’ve made the necessary adjustments to focus on our long-term strategy and we’re confident that these changes will allow us to best prepare for the future. We thank all of the incredibly talented Form employees, past and present, for their hard work and commitment."
As a former competitive swimmer, Eisenhardt is no stranger to the pool, and originally had the idea for the company’s swim goggles back in 2006 as a UBC student. But the necessary tech wasn’t yet available. Instead, he and a group started Recon Instruments, a company that made ski and cycling goggles. That firm was acquired by Intel in 2015, leading Eisnhardt to start Form in 2016.
Fast forward to 2021, and the company was coming along swimmingly. It received just under $1.5 million in federal funding in August before launching specialized workouts for its tech later that month. Things, too, were on the up for Eisenhardt personally. He became Rhino Ventures’ special limited partner, the firm he co-founded in 2015 (reuniting with former Recon colleague Fraser Hall), at the start of 2021. Last month Eisnhardt co-launched another venture fund.
Yet, as we know from Dapper Labs, even cutting-edge, frontier tech companies are not immune to global economic trends. Where does Form fit in the Vancouver layoff landscape? While its funding and its growth rates have been less than fellow local companies in a similar position (Thinkific was once valued at $1 billion while Hootsuite did a flagship rebrand less than a month prior to its cuts), the jobs that have been let go are similar.
Social media searches found those laid off from Form mostly came from marketing roles: future-focused jobs that tend to go first when economic headwinds are blowing. For those looking for full-time roles, more than 50 local tech companies remain actively hiring, despite the trend toward an uptick in layoffs.
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