Barely two months after the mysterious Humane company launched its AI pin that takes photos, the company is already laying off staff.
According to a report by The Verge, Humane laid off four percent of its employees this week in what’s being described as a cost-cutting measure.
Affected employees told the tech publication — on condition of anonymity — that Humane’s budget has been cut in 2024.
Four percent of the workforce equals 10 people let go from the five-year-old startup which announced its first device in November. The launch of the Humane AI Pin followed months of secrecy and speculation, causing a stir with its futuristic design, strong philosophy, and laser controls.
The AI Pin is supposed to represent a vision of a post-screen, post-smartphone world that makes technology “invisible.” The gadget costs $699 and Humane began accepting pre-orders after the launch with the first shipments planned to begin in March.
The company is operated by husband and wife duo Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chauhri, who both worked at Apple. After The Verge approached them with its story, Bongiorno took to LinkedIn where she characterized the cuts as “part of a wider refresh of our organizational structure as our company evolves with purpose for this next phase of growth.”
In a text message to The Verge’s Alex Heath, Bongiorno says the cuts were “not communicated as a layoff” to those who lost their jobs.
“It goes without saying that, like every company, we have a responsibility to remain prudent and proactive, ensuring we have the right roles, right people, and the right structure at every juncture,” she tells the journalist.
Humane has raised over $200 million in funding, including from notable Silicon Valley stars like OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. The start-up reportedly boasts dozens of distinguished ex-Apple employees including the company’s former director of engineering Patrick Gates as Humane’s chief technology officer.
However, in Bongiorno’s LinkedIn post, she says Gates is “transitioning to an advisor in order to spend more time with his family.” Adding that the company has promoted new heads of hardware, software, and people as part of a reorganization.
Image credits: Humane