With 20 million users accessing their platform, Benevity is the largest corporate purpose software provider in the world.
But last week, Benevity announced it is laying off 137 staff members.
This represents 14% of the Calgary-based technology unicorn’s workforce.
In a statement posted to Benevity’s website, CEO Kelly Schmitt called it one of the toughest days in the company’s history.
“We significantly increased the size of our team, but over the last nine months, macroeconomic conditions have changed dramatically, and the demand we expected to see has slowed significantly,” wrote Schmitt.
Schmitt’s words echo many others, who have experienced a marked post-Pandemic downturn resulting in a resizing of many firms.
This include tech titans like Alphabet, whose recent announcement that it will cut a whopping 12,000 staff sent shockwaves throughout the industry. The move will impact many regions and organizations, including dealing a blow to Alberta’s burgeoning artificial intelligence scene.
That is because Google owns DeepMind, the company’s AI research arm, which runs an office in Alberta. As a result of the cuts, the Edmonton office of UK-born DeepMind is shuttering.
Despite the loss of DeepMind, the province of Alberta remains robust in terms of AI excellence.
For example, Edmonton’s Nanoprecise Sci Corp recently raised US$10 million to advance its AI-based predictive maintenance solution provider that specializes in reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing plants. Meanwhile the inaugural Vector AI20 for 2023 recognized Edmonton’s AltaML, which uses data to build AI tools that optimize performance, mitigate risks, and create new opportunities.
Even outsiders are looking in. France-born Sidetrade is accelerating its expansion into the region: the company announced an investment of $24 million across three years to develop a new North American headquarters in their chosen city of Calgary.
“As our reputation for innovation grows, more companies … are recognizing the competitive advantage Calgary offers given our deep talent pool, our infrastructure, and the low cost of doing business,” Mayor Jyoti Gondek stated in October.
Beyond AI, the province supports a range of innovation. That’s why Calgary is one of Canada’s hottest hubs for startups.
“Alberta is a tech hub, and that the tech industry in Alberta, despite some of the news that we’re hearing here and around the world, is still strong, and it’s still growing,” Scott Crockatt, VP of Communications for the Business Council of Alberta, informed CTV News Calgary. “Alberta is going to likely fare much better than many of these other tech hubs around the world.”
While not everyone is optimistic in the near-term, most agree the region is well-positioned to rebound.
Some companies are laying workers off in 2023 but many others are still growing.
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