Danish startup Pleo announced that it plans to lay off approximately 15% of the company’s workforce. Given that the company currently has nearly 1,000 employees, this could affect up to 150 people. Pleo develops expense management tools for SMEs across Europe.
“I’ll be honest. Pleo today, with nearly 1,000 employees and with our focus in 16 different countries, feels so different from 12 months ago,” Co-Founder and CEO Jeppe Rindom wrote in a blog post.
“Yet the world has changed and our next chapter will look different. We no longer operate under a ‘growth first’ mandate, but rather a reality of ‘growth through focus and efficiency’. Focus on the many markets we now serve and focus on efficiency in everything we do. And what brought us here is not what will take us there,” he added later.
As a reminder, Pleo raised $150 million in July 2021 – then another $200 million in December 2021. After this Series C round, the company reached a valuation of $4.7 billion. It became one of Europe’s most valued fintech companies.
“We have set our priorities and defined our strategy for the coming year. And unfortunately this impacts 15% of our positions, possibly up to 150 of our colleagues have to leave. Each and every one of them has played an important role in making Pleo what we are today. And I like to believe that Pleo is more than just a workplace. Pleo is about people. […] And that makes this decision extra heavy and emotional. It is difficult. Still necessary,” wrote Ridom.
Pleo grew at a rapid pace. Last year, the company had 20,000 customers in six countries: Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Ireland and the UK. The company is now active in 16 different countries. Pleo competes with Spendesk and payhawk.
The startup issues company cards with individual and team spending limits. When an employee buys something, he can attach the expense report directly in Pleo. The platform also supports out-of-pocket expenses in case you need to pay cash and get refunded later.
Finally, Pleo syncs expenses with accounting tools, such as Sage, Xero, and Quickbooks. The company also offers an invoice management product to replace your existing accounts payable solution. The idea is that Pleo can help you automate many of the processes involved in spending your company’s money.
And yet Pleo may have grown too fast. It will be difficult to raise more money at the same valuation. Pleo now has a longer runway, but unfortunately some employees will have to leave the company.