Office space startup Knotel ($PRIVATE:KNOTEL) saw its valuation soar to unicorn territory, but after a Business Insider report this week brought into question its viability, the startup's future is looking less bright.
Now, the startup boasting office space in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, Toronto, London, Berlin, Paris, São Paolo, and Rio de Janeiro, is seeing itself get smaller, according to alternative data.
Knotel's headcount, tracked in our first chart via LinkedIn, has been sliding since December and is down more than 37% from the late 2019 peak. Headcount is falling in part thanks to layoffs Knotel completed in March, as the office rental space immediately saw demand crunch thanks to the pandemic.
Knotel isn't the only hot property rental startup to seemingly hit hard times - in 2019, before the pandemic outbreak, WeWork's attempted IPO broke apart mid-flight, leading to catastrophic job cuts, and more recently, Airbnb has fallen on hard times after Coronavirus slowed down its juggernaut business.
Long before the pandemic took hold, Knotel was reducing job postings, coming as the shared-space model was coming into question thanks to WeWork's failed offering. Right now, there are just a handful of open positions.
Knotel has raised more than a half-billion dollars since launching, according to the Business Insider report, with backers including Norwest Venture Partners and 500 Startups.
And while last summer, leading up to WeWork's attempted IPO, Facebook Talking About Count soared, signaling growing chatter around Knotel, that's no longer the case.
As attention stalled, lossed piled up: "The flexible-office company lost $49 million in the first quarter of 2020," according to the Business Insider report. The report also indicated Knotel has unpaid bills with multiple vendors.
The pandemic is burning out many a once-bright startup - and while a rebound isn't impossible for Knotel, the fact that the US is once again experiencing a growth in Coronavirus cases bodes poorly for it, and for office life.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.