Dropbox is laying off 500 employees to focus on AI

28 Apr 2023

Image: © wavemovies/Stock.adobe.com

An unknown number of Irish staff will be affected by Dropbox’s decision, while Clubhouse plans to cut more than 50pc of its workforce.

Dropbox is cutting roughly 16pc of its global workforce – 500 employees – due to slowed growth and the recent AI surge.

In a memo to staff, Dropbox co-founder and CEO Drew Houston said all impacted staff have been sent a calendar invite to speak with management staff and discuss their departure.

Dropbox employs hundreds of staff in Ireland, predominately through its Dublin office which had a remote working revamp in recent years. A company spokesperson told RTÉ that Irish staff will be impacted by the job cuts but did not specify how many employees will be cut.

Speaking on the reasons for the job cuts, Houston said Dropbox remains profitable but that “growth has been slowing”.

“Part of this is due to the natural maturation of our existing businesses, but more recently, headwinds from the economic downturn have put pressure on our customers and, in turn, on our business,” Houston said.

“As a result, some investments that used to deliver positive returns are no longer sustainable.”

The CEO also said the decision has been motivated by the recent surge in AI, with the market expanding “more rapidly than any of us could have anticipated”.

“We’ve been building towards this future for a long time, as this year’s product pipeline will demonstrate,” Houston said. “The opportunity in front of us is greater than ever, but so is our need to act with urgency to seize it.

“Our next stage of growth requires a different mix of skill sets, particularly in AI and early-stage product development. We’ve been bringing in great talent in these areas over the last couple years and we’ll need even more,” the CEO said.

Clubhouse job cuts

Meanwhile, live audio chat app Clubhouse is cutting more than half of its workforce in order to change and “evolve” its services.

In a memo, the company’s founders said it has been struggling to adapt the app with the company’s current size and “cross-functional teams”, with remote working making this “especially challenging”

“The end result is that it’s hard for teams to coordinate, people feel blocked by us, and brilliant, creative people are left underutilised,” founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth said.

On Twitter, Davison said the company plans to reset to become a smaller team “focused on product”.

“We have a clear vision for where we are headed and significant plans to evolve Clubhouse,” Davison said. “But we need to be a small start-up again to focus and move faster.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic