Canadian e-commerce lender Clearco is laying off 125 people - about 25% of its workforce - as it faces up to a slowdown in the sector and the wider economic downturn.
In an email to staffers, later posted on LinkedIn, co-founders Michele Romanow and Andrew D’Souza write that they are "deeply saddened" to be making the cuts.
The Toronto-headquartered firm is also "considering strategic options" for its international operations.
In the note, Romanow and D’Souza blame the decision on the macroeconomic environment and a slowdown in e-commerce growth, saying that they grew the company's headcount too quickly.
Clearco has funded more than 10,000 businesses to the tune of $5 billion, offering small firms a way to secure funding without giving up equity.
The firm has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and equity in the last two years but has been laid low by an economy that has gone downhill fast in recent months.
In June, it began laying of staff in Ireland just three months after entering the country, according to Betakit. It has also increased the repayment fees for loans and subleased some office space.
Romanow, a well-known figure in Canada as a star of the Dragons' Den TV show, faced some pushback on her note thanking employees.
Wrote Adam Smith: "While this is a nice note, and I'm sorry for the people being let go - What's missing is what personal sacrifices the founders, the CEO, the board and the exec leadership team taking? Are you taking a suspension in pay, did you cancel your bonuses/equity payouts? are the execs taking half pay till the company turns around?
"Or does your bad bets only affect those below you who are deemed expendable in tough times?"
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