Digital twin startup Willow cuts 99 staff on Christmas eve, just a week after raising $42 million

- December 23, 2022 2 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock
Nearly 100 staff at real estate and infrastructure digital twin startup will be looking for next jobs in the new year after the company cut 22% full-time employees and contractors, less than 10 days after announcing it had raised US$28.8 million (A$42m).

The Sydney- and US-based startup is backed and chaired by former Macquarie CEO Nicholas Moore, with fellow directors Jim Cooney, chair TCI Renewables, and Ric Clark, the former CEO of Brookfield Properties, key investors in last week’s round, made at a lower valuation to 2021’s pre-Series B.

The software startup previously raised US$43 million (A$58m) in a bridging round in August 2021 and  US$40 million (A$54m) in a Series A in late 2019.

Willow’s institutional investors include Perennial Value Management, VGI Partners, and CIA-backed US fund In-Q-Tel.

The digital twin software venture creates a digital replica of a built asset, so owners and operators of major portfolios and infrastructure to make smarter, more proactive, and data-led decisions. Its customer base includes some of the world’s largest owners of real estate and critical infrastructure including Brookfield Properties. It operates in North America, Australia, and Europe.

The company has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, Seattle, New York, London, Amersfoort and Manila. CEO Joshua Ridley recently relocated to Dallas to focus on its US customer base.

The job cuts involve around 72 of more than 300 staff, plus 27 contractors, with Australia employees bearing around half the brunt alongside the US team.

Announced its capital raise last week, Ridley said Willow had “a recent recalibration” of its strategy to focus on its largest growth area, real estate and smart facilities.

“Digital Twins have many applications, but this is a time for sharp focus on where we are uniquely positioned to win,” he said.

Willow has been contacted for comment on the redundancies.

The job cuts are among several startups trimming their headcount in the lead up to Christmas, alongside startup failures including the closure of delivery services YourGrocer, Deliveroo, which was losing around $3 million a month, and Voly, while embattled crypto exchange Swyftx cut another 90 staff earlier this month, and this week its merger with share trading platform Superhero was called off.