Bay Area-based Robinhood lays off nearly a quarter of staff

Robinhood, the controversial, fledgling stock and cryptocurrency tech firm headquartered in the Bay Area, announced mass layoffs on the same day that it was slapped with a $30 million fine by the state of New York.

Twenty-three percent of Robinhood’s corporate head count, about 800 of its approximately 3,400 employees, will be laid off, Robinhood co-founder and CEO Vlad Tenev said in a Tuesday blog post. The staff cuts will primarily affect Robinhood’s “operations, marketing and program management” divisions.

Tenev blamed the layoffs to overstaffing in 2021, which he attributed to “the assumption that the heightened retail engagement we had been seeing with the stock and crypto markets in the COVID era would persist into 2022.” The company also went public in 2021.

“As CEO, I approved and took responsibility for our ambitious staffing trajectory – this is on me,” he wrote.

The Menlo Park company will now undergo an organizational restructuring, with general managers taking charge of “individual businesses.”

The news comes as Robinhood’s crypto division faces a $30 million fine from the New York State Department of Financial Services for “significant failures” to comply with the state’s anti-money laundering and cybersecurity regulations for “virtual currency companies.” The agency said that Robinhood’s compliance program was understaffed and underresourced while wrongly certifying its compliance.

Laid-off employees were notified Tuesday. They have the option of staying employed through September — and will also receive cash severance, COBRA payments and job search assistance, although a company spokesperson declined to respond when asked about the duration of laid-off employees’ cash and health care payments.

Robinhood is one of the first — but likely not last — tech companies to announce a second round of layoffs in 2022. In April, Robinhood cut 9% of its staff. (“This did not go far enough,” Tenev said in the blog post.) These layoffs continue peacefully during a trying economic time for the tech industry, with behemoth companies announcing missed revenue goals and investors pulling back on funding risky new startup ventures. Earlier this week, Oracle announced mass layoffs.

The company will have an internal all-staff meeting Thursday.

Hear of anything going on at a Bay Area tech company? Contact Joshua Bote securely at or on Signal at 707-742-3756.

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