Guild Layoffs: 172 Employees Impacted as Denver-Based Unicorn Restructures

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Denver-based tech company Guild announced on Wednesday that it is laying off 172 employees, or 12% of its workforce. The layoffs come as part of a broader reorganization of the company, which is seeking to position itself for long-term growth and financial independence.

In an email to employees, Guild CEO Rachel Romer said that the layoffs were “incredibly painful” but necessary to ensure the company’s long-term success. She said that the company had “identified the go-forward structure, roles, and skill sets needed to enable our strategy and create a more focused, seamless way of doing work at Guild.”

Romer also said that employees affected by the layoffs would receive severance pay, medical, dental and vision coverage through COBRA, and other benefits designed to ease the transition.

Guild was founded in 2015 and offers a variety of educational and upskilling programs to employees of its corporate partners. The company has raised over $200 million in funding and was valued at $4.4 billion in 2022.

Romer’s email explained that the reorganization process involved identifying the optimal structure, roles, and skill sets necessary to enable Guild’s strategic vision. It also entailed reevaluating systems, roles, and processes that were suitable during the startup phase but required adaptation as the company transitions to a scale-up stage. As a result, certain positions were eliminated, and teams were restructured.

In terms of support for affected employees, Guild has implemented several measures to ease the transition. Those impacted by the layoffs will receive 12 weeks of severance pay, with an additional week of pay for each full year of service at the company. Moreover, they will be provided with medical, dental, and vision coverage through COBRA for up to 18 months, with Guild covering the premiums for the first six months.

To further facilitate the transition, Guild has extended the equity exercise period by two years, allowing employees to continue accessing the company’s upskilling programs. Additionally, impacted employees will retain access to the Beehive, Guild’s subsidized childcare program.

Guild initially positioned itself as a leader in upskilling, offering various educational tools to help workers advance within their organizations. Acting as a bridge between businesses and education partners, Guild’s Learning Marketplace connects employees with debt-free learning opportunities, including degree programs. Notable companies like Chipotle and Walmart have partnered with Guild to provide their employees access to these educational resources, with the aim of retaining talent.

Guild’s success in attracting substantial investments is evident. In 2019, it achieved unicorn status, joining the ranks of a select few women-led companies to do so. Last year, Guild secured a $175 million Series F financing round, which included investment from Oprah Winfrey, propelling its valuation to $4.4 billion. Furthermore, Guild was recognized on the Time100 list of most influential companies in 2022.

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