The world’s largest and most popular virtual training platform for amateur cyclists is firing 15% of its staff (~ 80 people) in a third round of layoffs at Zwift in less than a year.
“After very careful consideration, we have taken the decision to make important changes to the organization. These changes mean we will regretfully be parting ways with a number of very talented colleagues. We are grateful for their contributions to Zwift and will do our best to support them in their transition,” the company announced in a press statement on Wednesday.
The change is driven by newly hired Co-CEO Kurt Beidler taking control of all day-to-day operations to swiftly turn Zwift around by focusing on core product development, rather than marketing programs – though Zwift did clarify their marketing sponsorship of the 2023 Tour de France Femmes has not changed.
Previously, Zwift laid off 60+ employees in May 2022 and followed that up with another 150+ layoffs in November 2022 as users abandoned the virtual platform in favor of In-Real-Life training post pandemic.
As with many businesses in the emerging “SportsTec” space, exemplified by Peloton’s rapid demise, even with a huge customer base (reported to be 1,000,000+), Zwift is unprofitable according to Co-Founder Eric Min in a recent Bloomberg interview.
In the near term, all of this may not be good news for amateur cyclists on Zwift.
Besides crushing company moral by continuing to lay off employees to rein in costs, a price increase is coming soon according to Min, but likely without any significant new functionality. More likely, Zwift will focus new financial resources on much needed investments in backend hardware and crushing software bugs that permeate the platform and frustrate users ad-nauseam.
But in the long run, if Beidler can turn Zwift around before the best employees opt to leave, venture capital funding runs out, and once loyal user switch to competing platforms like ROUVY, MyWhoosh, Wahoo X, BKOOLl or TrainerRoad, Zwift might someday reaching their lofty goal of having 10,000,000 loyal users.
Photo Credit: Zwift/IA
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