Jan 17, 2023

A message from our CEO Oskari Saarenmaa

Earlier today, Oskari shared this message with Aiven employees.

oskari-saarenmaa

Oskari Saarenmaa

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Chief Executive Officer at Aiven

A message from our CEO Oskari Saarenmaa

Dear team,

First of all, this message is reaching some of you outside of working hours and I apologize for that.

In the Town Hall earlier today, I shared some painful news. We are planning to reduce our team size by about 20% and reshape our organization. You will get further information on the next steps to your Aiven email within one hour. In Finland, according to the local legislation, we will start change negotiations.

For those of you departing: I’m truly sorry. As the company founder and CEO, I take full responsibility for the difficult decision that I have made.

Before I walk you through why we are making these changes, this is what you should know right away:

  • We will send all of you an email on the next steps within one hour.
  • As we will continue to invest heavily in our product development, we won’t be reducing the team in Product.
  • Aiven has employees in 25 countries. Notifications and next steps will vary depending on local regulation.
  • Depending on local laws and the stage of the reduction plans in the region, affected employees will receive an invitation either to an individual meeting or collective negotiations.
  • For general questions, we have published an internal Slab article and set up a new Slack channel #aiven-restructure.
  • You can ask any personal questions in the discussions between you and your manager or function lead.
  • Please be mindful and avoid speculating about teams and individuals openly on Slack.
  • We are sharing the news on the Aiven blog later today. Before that, we are doing our best to inform everyone internally.

We made mistakes

One year ago the world looked very different than it is today. The macroeconomic situation, increased inflation, interest rates, and war in Europe have all had an impact on our business.

But also we, the executive team, have made mistakes. Although we raised several rounds of funding in the last two years, we are in a situation where we need to make long-term changes to our business and organization for sustainable growth.

  • One of the big opportunities for Aiven is that all companies out there could be our customers. This is also our challenge, as we created an Ideal Customer Profile around the digital native mid-market customers which have been most affected by the declining macroeconomic situation.
  • We had plans for doubling our ARR this fiscal year. We’ve unfortunately fallen short as you can see from our daily pulse emails.
  • I was too optimistic about the future and allowed our team to grow too fast – almost doubling in size in 2022 – which resulted in lack of focus and priorities. The changes we are making will bring the team size back to approximately where it was at the end of summer last year.
  • These changes, while painful, will allow us to correct the course of our Rule of 40 development.

As you know, we have already taken several cost saving measures in the past quarters and introduced new spend guidelines. We have slowed down on hiring, reduced travel, and looked at savings in multiple other operating expense categories from software to ad spend and office spaces. Unfortunately, these measures have not been enough to get us back on track. We need to reshape our organization for future stability and growth.

In the future, we will continue to build the company based on our mission: making developers' lives better. By building a product that developers love and platform teams find value in, we build the basis for our future success. This year, we will focus on expanding our user base and on leveraging strategic relationships, including our partners, to engage with prospect customers. Although we need to adapt to the current market, I’m optimistic about our future.

To the Crabs

This is how we are offering to support the members of the team leaving:

  • We will pay a minimum 12 weeks of compensation to all departing employees, plus one additional week per completed full year of service.
  • We'll pay for unused personal time off in the countries where that is possible.
  • We will provide immigration support for those who need it.
  • Where possible we will allow departing employees to keep their laptop, phone and other hardware.
  • We have extended the period during which vested options can be exercised where possible.

The coming days and weeks will be tough. We are saying goodbye to many valued Aiveners and friends. We will set up a new Slack channel called #ext-stay-connected where people can connect and wish well to each other. Please be kind and support each other throughout this process. In addition to connecting with your team members or getting support from our Employee Assistance Programme, you can reach out to me or any member of the executive team.

Sincerely,

Oskari

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