An anonymous source told The PIE News that the company had laid off around a quarter of its workforce – 25 people – without any warning.
Founders Omar de Silva and Jack Hylands spoke to The PIE responding to the allegations, insisting that the figure regarding the amount of people is “inaccurate”.
“Without going into commercial specifics, notwithstanding the very material consideration on the human impacts, we have made the decision to undergo a reduction in force process,” de Silva said.
He called it the “hardest professional thing” that he has gone through, citing the responsibilities that both he and Hylands have in their roles to “run a business which is impactful and sustainable”.
“[The move] treats very seriously the employment of a very large team with venture capital investment – investors that have given us their good faith and trusted in us.”
The move, according to the source, came after it was decided by FourthRev to leave behind the business’ microcredentials division, internally referred to as the licensing business.
The microcredentials page is still live on the website. Photo: FourthRev
“This has come off the back of product roadmap changes, which better reflects the environment that we’re operating within,” he continued.
De Silva noted that the company’s career accelerators are gaining a significant amount of momentum, growing “north of 250% year-on-year”.
He did not say there was a significant “shift away” from the licensing area of the business, and there were still multiple partners situated around the globe.
It was not clarified, however, which positions were eliminated – LinkedIn posts from some who have identified themselves being laid off from the company held titles such as “Learning Experience Designer” and “Learning Experience Design”.
The posts in question also said that the news was given without any warning.
FourthRev holds partnerships on tech upskilling with various UK universities and Australian institutions, as well as with a “select number” of universities in the US.
King’s College London was one of the latest universities to publicly expand on its partnership with FourthRev in February.
A growing amount of tech companies in international education have had to make layoffs in the last year citing various issues such as cash flow difficulties, financial slumps and restructuring.
Companies where this has been the case include Applyboard, D2L, 2U, Coursera and upGrad’s Harappa Education.
“This has come off the back of product roadmap changes”
“We’re acutely aware of the macroeconomic environment that we’re operating within,” added de Silva – pointing out that cash flow difficulties were not an identified issue at FourthRev.
The source also told The PIE that the bulk of the company’s US team were on the receiving end of the layoffs. Hylands said, while not disclosing specifics regarding who was let go, that the company has “never had a substantial US team”.
“We try to just keep maturing as a business and being as effective as possible, but there’s not a narrative that we were operating in the US and we’re now ‘pulling out’ of the US – that doesn’t reflect on what’s going on.
“The majority of our team has been across South Africa, the UK and Australia and that’s where the majority of our team remains,” Hylands explained.