Sun. Dec 8th, 2019

Extra layoffs at pivoting London ed tech startup pi-top

London ed tech startup pi-top has gone via one other spherical of layoffs, TechCrunch has discovered.

Pi-top confirmed that eight jobs have been minimize within the London workplace, saying the job losses resulted from “restructuring our enterprise to concentrate on the U.S. training market.”

In August we broke the information that the STEM hardware-focused firm had minimize 12 workers after shedding out on a serious contract; pi-top advised us then that its headcount had been diminished from 72 to 60.

The newest cuts recommend the workforce has been diminished to round 50 — though we now have additionally heard that firm headcount is now significantly decrease than that.

One supply advised us that 12 jobs have gone within the London workplace this week, in addition to further cuts within the China workplace, the place the corporate’s hardware workforce relies — however pi-top denied there have been any adjustments to its China workforce.

Pi-top stated in August that the layoffs had been associated to implementing a brand new technique.

Commenting on the newest cuts, it advised us: “We’ve got made adjustments throughout the firm that replicate our enterprise concentrate on the U.S. training market and our more and more essential SaaS studying platform.”

“The core of our enterprise stays unchanged and we’re pleased with progress and the incredible suggestions we now have obtained on piprime four from our faculty companions,” pi-top added.

Moreover, we now have heard that a additional eight roles on the U.Okay. workplace have been knowledgeable to workers as prone to redundancy. Affected jobs in danger embody roles in product, advertising and marketing, inventive providers, buyer help and finance.

We additionally perceive that quite a lot of staff have left the corporate of their very own accord in latest months, following an earlier spherical of layoffs.

Pi-top didn’t present touch upon jobs prone to redundancy, however advised us that it has employed three new workers “to speed up the SaaS aspect of our training providing and can be growing our numbers within the U.S. to service our development within the area.”

We perceive that the newest spherical of cuts have been communicated to workers as a cost-reduction train and likewise linked to implementing a brand new technique. Workers have additionally been advised that the enterprise focus has shifted to the united statesschools market.

As we reported earlier this yr, pi-top appointed a brand new govt chairman of its board who has a powerful U.S. focus: Stanley Buchesky served within the Trump administration as an interim CFO for the U.S. Division of Training below Secretary of Training Betsy DeVos. He’s additionally the founding father of a U.S. ed tech seed fund.

Sources accustomed to pi-top say the corporate is looking for to pivot away from making proprietary ed tech hardware to concentrate on a SaaS studying platform for instructing STEM, known as pi-top Additional.

At first of this yr it crowdfunded a fourth-gen STEM machine, the pi-top four, with an estimated transport date of this month. The crowdfunder attracted 521 backers, pledging near $200,000 to fund the undertaking.

Within the pi-top four Kickstarter pitch the machine is slated as being supported by a software program platform known as Additional — which is described as a “free social making platform” that “teaches you the right way to use all of the pi-top elements via finishing challenges and contributing tasks to the neighborhood,” in addition to providing social sharing options.

The plan now could be for pi-top to monetize that software program platform by charging subscription charges for components of the service — with the last word objective of SaaS revenues making up the majority of its enterprise as hardware gross sales are de-emphasized. ( is tough; and pi-top’s present STEM studying flagship has confronted some challenges with reliability, as we reported in August.)

We perceive that the strategic change to Additional — from free to a subscription service — was communicated to workers internally in September.

Requested about progress on the pi-top four, the corporate advised us the machine started transport to backers this week. 

“We’re happy to announce the discharge of pi-top four and pi-top Additional, our new studying and robotics coding platform,” it stated. “This new product suite offers educators the power to show coding, robotics and AI with step-by-step curriculum and an built-in coding window that powers the tasks college students construct. With pi-top, lecturers can successfully use Venture Primarily based Studying and college students can study by doing and apply what they study to the actual world.”

Final month pi-top introduced it had taken in $four million in further funding to fund the deliberate pivot to SaaS — and “bridge in direction of profitability,” because it put it right this moment.

“The adjustments you see are a quick rising start-up shifting from income focus to a right-sized revenue producing firm,” it additionally advised us.

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