Katerra Cuts 3% Of Global Workforce
Prefab construction startup Katerra has joined the list of companies needing to cut back on their ranks.
The Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday it has laid off or furloughed 3% of its global workforce as the coronavirus pandemic continues grinding economies to a halt.
Katerra's decision, which should amount to around 240 layoffs and furloughs based on the company’s 8,000-person workforce, comes as the economy has seen skyrocketing levels of unemployment from the spread of the coronavirus and attempts to contain it. About 10 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits between March 14 and March 28.
Valued recently at over $4B, Katerra aims to transform construction with a tech- and robotics-centric approach to off-site construction. Last year, it secured a contract with Saudi Arabia to build 8,000 homes, and domestically it has a variety of completed projects across the U.S.
But the startup has also faced setbacks before this economic contraction. Reports of project pullouts and cost overruns, as well as questions about the valuation assigned to it by SoftBank, have worked against the company.
In addition to layoffs and furloughs, Katerra has reduced the salaries of its higher-paid employees, and Marks is receiving no salary. Funds from salary reductions will be directed toward a financial assistance fund for employees struggling as a result of the coronavirus, according to the company.
It did not specify which of its offices or factories are seeing layoffs and furloughs.
"Being the optimist that I am, I hope that we can get through this and get back to work as quickly as possible," Marks said.