Furnished Apartment-Rental Business Landing Renovations, Layoffs of 110 Employees

Furnished apartment rental startup Landing told employees today that it is restructuring and laying off 110 employees.

In a note to staff shared with Forbesfounder and CEO Bill Smith said that as the company scaled, it increasingly moved to a “field operating model” that required more people in the field and fewer at its headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama.

Last month, he wrote “nearly 70 of our existing team members have accepted new roles in field operations and moved across the country to live and work in the communities we serve.” Meanwhile, as part of its restructuring, the company has “reduced a number of roles at Landing, primarily in our core business team,” he wrote. said Smith Forbes via email that 110 people were laid off. On the Landing’s career board, a number of job listings — for home quality specialists and customer service representatives — showed locations in Mexico City.

When Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Landing was moving its headquarters to Birmingham from San Francisco in June 2021, the company said it planned to create 816 new jobs.

Smith said the Landing’s revenue forecast for this year — $200 million, up from $83 million last year — remained unchanged.

Smith, a 36-year-old high school dropout in Birmingham, Alabama, had made a fortune with his previous business, online grocery delivery service Shipt, which he sold to Target
for $550 million in 2018. He founded the Landing to appeal to people who wanted the flexibility to live in different places — and move easily. It offered its members (who pay $199 a year) quick access to rental apartments with the flexibility to rent for as little as one month.

Landing, which we named as part of this year’s Next Billion-Dollar Startups list, raised $237 million in venture funding from Foundry Group, Greycroft and others at a recent $475 million valuation.

But as the rise and fall of WeWork has shown, there’s so much potential in new real estate models—and so much risk. Which cities would have demand and potential profitability? How could it reduce installation costs? Adjust pricing and marketing for seasonality? Smith, who owns about a third of Landing, has been working to solve such complexities with data — and lots of it. “I get bored very easily,” he said Forbes on July. “I’m drawn to solving these complex problems.”

In the memo to staff, Smith wrote that the company had first built a centralized team and then switched to the field-based strategy after realizing it wouldn’t scale.

In late August, Casey Woo, who had been Landing’s chief financial officer, left the company. In an email last month, Woo, who previously worked for WeWork, called his departure “mutual and very amicable.”

Competition in the short-term rental space has increased from companies that include New York-based Blueground and San Francisco’s Zeus Living, as well as Airbnb and hotels that have moved further into extended-stay options.

Landing’s restructuring and layoffs come as several tech startups, including Bolt, Carvana and Klarna, have made layoffs this year.

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