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Anshul Ruparel, founder and CEO of real estate company Properly, announced that the company is laying off 71 people in a public blog post on November 15 after hosting an extensive meeting with employees.Galit Rodan/The Globe and Mail

Real estate startup Properly has laid off nearly half its workforce just months after raising $36 million in new venture capital.

CEO Anshul Ruparel announced the 71 layoffs in a public blog post on November 15 after hosting an extensive meeting with employees.

Mr. Ruparel called the move a “painful but necessary decision” in an e-mail response to questions from The Globe. In his blog post, he wrote: “We deeply regret taking this step, and I take responsibility for the choices that brought us here. … Conditions have deteriorated more rapidly than we anticipated and we cannot predict whether When will the market recover?

The types of employees laid off range from software developers, recruiters, data scientists, pricing analysts, real estate sales managers and mortgage advisors to growth executives in charge of marketing and customer experience, to name a few. Even Mr. Ruparel’s own executive assistant was being cut and a former employee announced on LinkedIn that she had been fired on her birthday.

Appropriately set up a range of supports to help former employees find new roles.

Cam McWatt, who will serve as a recruiter for Properly from September 2021 to July 2022, said, “If people internally didn’t see it, or maybe not … I’d be shocked.” He was placed in a batch which included around 10 other employees.

“We doubled the company since I was there; I joined at 70, and left at 140 [employees]” he said. “There was a big downturn a few months out of the year but at that point we were hiring. Then in the early spring we recognized that things started to shift … Hiring was slowing down, decision making took longer was appearing.

On August 8, Properly announced that it had raised $35 million from many of the same investors – including Bain Capital and Intact Ventures (the VC arm of Canadian insurer Intact Insurance) – who invested $44 million in the company in July. did. 2021.

According to some former employees, internally the company told workers that this new funding would extend Properly’s operational “runway” by three years and that no new layoffs would be necessary. That said, when it announced the funding Properly’s leadership warned that it would pause its expansion into new Canadian markets as real estate activity cooled off.

“We are now experiencing one of the most significant reforms in the history of the Canadian housing market,” Mr. Ruparel wrote in his announcement of the layoffs.

According to Mr McWatt there were signs before the recession that the business was struggling to find its way. “The roadmap will change rapidly, we will always seek new opportunities,” he said.

Among them was a partnership with Canadian home renovation television duo Jonathan and Drew Scott, known as The Property Brothers (which may have led to some brand confusion, given that Properly never offered renovation services). of).

Appropriately began life in Calgary in 2018 as a so-called “iBuyer” company – like US company OpenDoor, which used data to buy undervalued properties to flip and resell – but a tenuous local reality turned to the hybrid buying model in the face of the property market.

The company’s finances count on a $100 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank that was the company’s flagship market offering – called Assurance of Sale – which allows customers to tap into their home equity to complete a real estate purchase. will allow. Guarantee that you will fairly buy your initial home for a specified price if no other buyer is found.

As the real estate market slows across Canada in 2022 amid rising interest rates, some former Properly employees (who declined to speak on the record) say real estate salespeople who worked with the company have lost their jobs. Began to reduce or omit any mention of sales guarantees. All. Mr Ruparel declined to answer questions about whether Properly has been forced to use his own money to buy any homes in 2022, although he insisted that should happen in 2021. remains.

Reasonably and Mr. Ruparel declined to comment on the future of the sales assurance program, or whether the company was again moving to a new business model.

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