Fintech ‘unicorn’ Numbrs slashes jobs as investors turn tail

Numbrs has a custom-made premises in Zurich to house its HQ. All Rights Reserved

The mobile banking app Numbrs is poised to cut 62 of its Zurich-based staff after investors pulled out of an agreement to inject new funds into the company. Just last year, the fintech firm said it was worth CHF1 billion having attracted big ticket investments from around the world.

This content was published on May 8, 2020 - 10:50

The digital finance platform employs around 150 staff at its headquarters in Zurich. Operating mainly in the German market, Numbrs had raised $200 million (CHF195 million) in previous funding rounds despite failing to make an annual profit since its inception in 2014.

But the company now faces a painful restructuring period because “a new round of financing in the high double-digit million range has not materialized despite a legally binding signature”. The company did not name the proposed investors or say whether they had pulled out due to the economic uncertainties created by coronavirus.

As a result of the blow, Numbrs says it must now reduce fixed costs, such as staff wages, by 50%. But the company is going ahead with plans to enter the British market.

“I would like to ask all Numbrs employees for understanding that, like many other startups, we now have to prepare for a longer dry spell,” stated managing partner Fynn Kreuz.

The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted venture capital funding as the economy and financial markets have been thrown into turmoil. Several investors have seen their own wealth shrink and are concentrating on keeping their current portfolio of start-ups afloat rather than risking new investments.

Venture capital funding in Switzerland fell dramatically in the first three months of this yearExternal link compared to the same period in 2019.  A recent survey of Swiss business angel investors found that half of them have cut back on their investment plansExternal link as a result of the pandemic.

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