On Monday, Patreon CEO Jake Conte released a YouTube video announcing he just laid off 36 employees from Patreon’s product, design, and engineering teams. In the video, Conte assures viewers that the move wasn’t because of financial troubles. In fact, the company just raised $155 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global, pumping its valuation from $1.2 billion to $4 billion.
“Anytime something like this happens at a company, it is ultimately the responsibility of the CEO. And not just the decision itself, but everything that led up to the decision, all of that points back to the CEO,” Conte said in the video. A keyboard, which he plays in the band Pomplamoose with his wife Nataly Dawn, can be seen in the background. "So why did we do this? We're shifting the way we build products and operate internally and we needed different sets of experiences and different types of employees in order to make that shift."
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Conte then goes on to explain that this also traces back to hiring of a new chief product officer―Julian Gutman, a former Instagram product lead―to “make Patreon the best product in the world” for creators and users by overhauling the existing product and adding new features.
"Julian has been working with me and the team to dream up all the things that we want to build over the next few years to help creators build their businesses,” Conte adds. "As we went deeper into the planning for this work and looked internally at the skills and specialties that we had in our team, we realized we didn't have the right composition of experiences and the types of expertise that we would need in order to build that vision that we had laid out. That was the basis for the decision and nothing else."
Conte doesn’t offer the full details of the severance package for laid off employees in the video, but does list a few offerings including three months of full pay, mental health care coverage, health insurance, and lifting restrictions on stock-based compensation.
Patreon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.