Pebble to lay off 25% of workforce

Pebble logoAs more and more companies develop smartwatches, we're starting to see which will stick around and which will fall behind. Pebble is hoping that it could become one of the former companies—but it's cutting costs to stay afloat. In an interview with Tech Insider, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky revealed the company would lay off 40 employees, or about 25 percent of its entire workforce.

Migicovsky was slightly cryptic when explaining the reason for the layoffs, but he did say that Pebble would be carefully considering how to spend its money over the next year. "We've definitely been careful this year as we plan our products," Migicovsky told Tech Insider. "We got this money, but money [among VCs in Silicon Valley] is pretty tight these days."

According to the interview, Pebble has raised $26 million over the past eight months, which is in addition to its original $20 million raised back in February of 2015 when it launched its Pebble Time Kickstarter campaign. Migicovsky claims Pebble will focus its wearable device efforts on the health and fitness market going forward, and it will also start selling smartwatches in India via Amazon next month.

Pebble to lay off 25% of workforce

Since the beginning, Pebble's success has always been heavily based on its community of followers and developers. The Kickstarter for the original Pebble pulled in over $10 million, and since then the company has created upgraded, all-metal designs of its first smartwatch, redesigned its interface, and even designed a round version meant to appeal to the more fashion-conscious shopper. But now it appears even a strong community cannot prevent the shakiness of the wearable industry from affecting Pebble. The market for smartwatches and smartwatch hybrids continues to get crowded: Fitbit's Blaze debuted recently, and we saw the company's stock fall shortly after, and Apple lowered the price of its Watch to $299 this week. Pebble hasn't disclosed any sales figures recently; it's too early to know sales of Fitbit's Blaze; and aside from analyst projections, Apple Watch sales numbers are still shrouded in mystery.

Despite that uncertainty, experts do predict that in the wearables category, smartwatches will be the device in highest demand over the next few years. Pebble plans to be around to see that reality. "We want to be careful," Migicovsky told Tech Insider. "Pebble is in this for the long haul. We have a vision where wearables will take us in five to 10 years, and this is setting us up for success."

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Pebble, smartwatch

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