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Pivots can be the making of a startup, helping teams refocus on a good idea when previous things haven’t worked. But sometimes, they are just one more step on a difficult track. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Adero — an Amazon-backed maker of Bluetooth-enabled tracking tags that until last December was known as TrackR — is laying off at least 45 percent of its staff. The cuts come as Adero refocuses on building software instead of hardware products, and attempts to build a B2B business that reduces its emphasis on the consumer market, ahead of plans to raise another round of funding.
The layoffs, which started last week, follow a pivot about two months ago from selling individual tracking tags — a business that had become increasingly commoditized — to developing solutions to organise and track groups of items that tend to be used together (such as the contents of a school backpack).
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It’s not clear exactly how many employees are being affected, but when the pivot was announced at the end of November, the company had 60 employees, which would work out to 27 employees in this latest cut.
A spokesperson said that layoffs were being made to put more focus on building software instead of hardware.
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“As our new brand grows, we can now move to the next chapter in developing the intelligent organization platform,” he said. “As a result, we’ve parted ways with a portion of the team that was brought on to help design and deliver the consumer product. We will both support the consumer products and focus new energy on developing the platform that powers our consumer products so it can power the experiences of our strategic partners.”
The layoffs and shift at Adero underscore the more general, continuing challenges of building hardware startups. If the product is unique,...
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