Citizen laid off 33 employees members on Wednesday, the corporate confirmed to TechCrunch.
“We’re grateful to all of our departing staff members for his or her contributions to Citizen and are dedicated to supporting them by means of this transition with a beneficiant severance package deal that features accelerated possibility vesting and prolonged train window, six months of COBRA funds, profession companies assist, and different advantages,” a spokesperson informed TechCrunch.
Citizen didn’t share what departments on the firm have been impacted; one laid off worker informed TechCrunch that not less than ten engineers have been let go.
Launched in 2016, the app was initially banned from the App Retailer over considerations about vigilantism — it was known as Vigilante on the time. Now, Citizen makes use of public police blotters to inform customers about verified incidents of their space, however customers can add their very own experiences of suspicious exercise and livestream from crime scenes as properly.
In line with information from SensorTower, an app analytics agency, Citizen has seen about $30.3 million in shopper spending and over 14 million downloads since its launch. The non-public firm most just lately raised a $73 million Collection C funding spherical in early 2021, which included a $23 million convertible word.
Citizen has been criticized for encouraging a tradition of surveillance that lends itself to racial profiling and harassment; one other neighborhood social app Nextdoor has exhibited related points. However probably the most egregious instance of those risks got here from the corporate’s CEO himself. In 2021, Andrew Body supplied Citizen customers $30,000 to trace down a suspected arsonist whereas livestreaming on the Citizen app. He shared a photograph of the suspect on a reside feed which racked up 800,000 views, nevertheless it turned out he had the mistaken man. In line with a report on the incident from Motherboard, Body noticed this as an elaborate advertising and marketing alternative for the app’s livestream characteristic.
“We deeply remorse our mistake and are working to enhance our inner processes to stop this from taking place once more,” the corporate wrote in a press release on the time.
Later that yr, Citizen launched a service known as Defend. For $20 monthly, customers get 24/7 entry to a “defend agent” who can join them with first responders or police. However critics have questioned whether or not Citizen’s alerts stoke panic and worry moreso than they hold individuals protected — and that worry can encourage individuals to buy entry to their very own private safety agent.
In line with SensorTower information, in-app purchases on Citizen elevated 17% year-over-year after the introduction of Defend. However Citizen noticed a mean of $1.4 million in month-to-month spending on its app in 2022, which seemingly isn’t sufficient to make the corporate worthwhile. Citizen didn’t share a motive for conducting layoffs, however letting go of 33 workers may afford the corporate a bit extra runway. In line with its web site, Citizen is at present hiring for 5 roles.