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The new year brings new tech layoffs

American Robotics is one of several local tech companies to do layoffs in 2023.

Already in 2023, there’s been a quick string of layoffs in the local technology sector.

American Robotics, a drone startup in Waltham, laid off 65 percent of its staff last week, or about 50 people, according to former employees. Definitive Healthcare in Framingham laid off 6 percent of its workforce, or 55 people, and Cambridge software company Pegasystems laid off 4 percent, or 250 people. And on Wednesday, Boston wireless Internet firm Starry cut about one-quarter of its workforce, or 100 people.

Earlier this month, Boston software company Jellyfish laid off 9 percent of its staff, and Whoop laid off 4 percent of its corporate workforce. Layoffs have also hit Boston’s Embark Veterinary, a dog DNA-testing startup, and SimpliSafe, a home security company, which is closing its Taunton warehouse.


Each layoff has its own reasons. But the range of companies affected shows that the tech community is still adjusting to the economic slowdown, uncertain market conditions, and (in some cases) over-hiring.

The Globe has also reported that tech companies — once in growth mode but now cutting back — are responsible for nearly half of the office space available on the sublease market in Boston.

“This year will likely be choppy,” said David Chang, general manager of recruiting startup Hunt Club’s expert network in Boston.

Definitive Healthcare CEO Robert Musslewhite cited changing economic conditions, which led some companies to become more cautious about their purchasing decisions, as well as aggressive hiring on his part, as reasons for the company’s cuts.

“Given that the majority of our spending is on people, we unfortunately could not manage our expenses far enough down without reducing our headcount,” Musslewhite wrote in an e-mail to employees.

Reese Mozer, the CEO of American Robotics, sent a similar message to employees last week.


“We’ve had to make some extremely difficult decisions over the past couple weeks,” he wrote in an e-mail to laid-off workers obtained by the Globe. “Under different market conditions, you would remain.”

American Robotics’ owner Ondas Holdings, which is buying another drone company, Airobotics, said last week that it is speeding up the integration of both firms. In a statement to the Globe, Ondas CEO Eric Brock cited the economic climate and need to generate revenue.

Layoffs in 2023 shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the pullback in investments at the end of last year. Greg Raiz, the former managing director of Techstars Boston, said many firms are planning to “tighten their belts and plan for slower, more measured growth.”

“There’s a general mix of uncertainty of the economy and the excitement of starting a new year,” he said, adding that so far, local layoffs feel like the “regular drum beat of companies growing and shrinking.”

The good news is that plenty of tech companies are still hiring, looking to scoop up available tech workers. (My colleague Aaron Pressman wrote last week that Boston VC firm NextView Ventures is scouting teams of laid-off tech workers to lead the next wave of startups.)

“We haven’t seen much of a dip locally on the demand side for the most sought-after talent,” Chang said. “I’m personally having difficulty staying on top of the C-level searches on my own radar.”

Aaron Pressman of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.