There have been major changes in healthcare since the pandemic, including a swarm of startups looking to innovate and provide infrastructure to support the growth. Truepill is one of the companies attempting to transform consumer healthcare, which it does with its platform that connects other companies with telehealth services, diagnostics, and prescriptions. But as things have become more difficult for companies around the world, the digital health unicorn is struggling, leading to Truepill carrying out its fourth round of layoffs in 2022.
Two months ago, Truepill faced its third round of layoffs this year, where it let go of around a third of its workforce. At the time, the company laid off about 175 people, with one source telling TechCrunch that the entire U.K. team was affected. The virtual pharmacy product team and data team, two core teams, were likewise impacted.
Truepill carrying out its fourth round of layoffs comes as another major blow to the company. The layoffs impacted around 20% of the existing staff in a variety of teams and resulted directly from the company’s decision to focus on its core pharmacy business and achieve significant cost reductions. That includes the support engineering team covering the work handled by the U.K. team laid off in the last round.
According to the company, economic factors were at play, making certain positions no longer sustainable. But Truepill has been struggling for quite some time. While it hoped to be on solid footing after its previous round of layoffs, things have continued to get worse.
Truepill faced other difficult decisions and situations this year as well. One such situation was the growing concerns over digital health, particularly mental health telehealth and digitally prescribed controlled substances. In response, Truepill halted prescribing ADHD medication, just like many other telehealth startups. But with Truepill having acquired an adult ADHD treatment company at the time, the disruption had quite the impact.
The startup is still trying to find a way to keep itself around for the foreseeable future, though. When around 150 people were laid off back in June, Sid Viswanathan sent out a letter detailing the company’s focus on “defining a new category in healthcare and growing top-line revenue.” He also said that the company would proceed “with a new level of financial discipline and prioritization” that would ensure the company’s longevity for clients and teams.
It is uncertain whether Truepill will continue to pull back on staff and scope of operations in the future, but things have gone downhill rather quickly. Truepill started out describing itself as the AWS for pharmacies, and it claimed to be pulling in $300 million in revenue in 2021. During that time, it received significant funding and even hit unicorn status with a $1.6 billion valuation.
But Truepill is not the only startup to suffer. There are plenty of other startups finding themselves cutting costs wherever they can in favor of profitability. Truepill only stands out due to the size of the company and how it reached its fourth round of layoffs in a single year.
Updated 10/5/22: Corrected the number of impacted employees by the fourth round of layoffs to 20% across the organization.
Spencer Hulse is a news desk editor at Grit Daily News. He covers startups, affiliate, viral, and marketing news.