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Digital health unicorn Truepill conducts third round of layoffs in 2022

Truepill, a platform that helps other companies offer diagnostics, telehealth services and prescriptions, has conducted its third mass layoff in a string of workforce reductions, sources tell TechCrunch. The layoff impacted about third of the company, or 175 people.

One source says that Truepill’s entire UK team was laid off, as well as a meaningful portion of the virtual pharmacy platform’s product team. The data team was also impacted, while the diagnostics and telehealth components of the company – its core services – will be only lightly supported going forward. Impacted employees were told that they lost their jobs via a Zoom call, and some were told that severance details would be shared in the next few days.

Truepill’s next chapter will be the pharmacy operations portion of the business, a return to form after Truepill’s frantic COVID-19 product sprint. When Truepill first launched, it described itself as the AWS for pharmacies, powering companies like Hims, Nurx, LemonAID and other direct-to-consumer healthcare brands.

Over time – and various financing rounds – Truepill saw opportunity in selling diagnostics and telehealth services. Eventually, it expanded beyond brands that serve directly to consumers and aimed at institutions such as healthcare plans, life science companies and providers.

Today’s move is in stark contrast to how Truepill characterized its business just months prior; then it appeared to be in a position of offense, the company claiming bringing in $300 million in revenue in 2021.

In an all-hands with those who remain employed at the company, sources say chief executive and co-founder Sid Viswanathan spoke about the digital health company’s need to raise a Series E round, or an extension of its Series D round, a $142 million tranche closed in October 2021. As part of that financing, Truepill was valued at $1.6 billion, officially entering into unicorn territory.

In April, Truepill halted prescriptions to ADHD medications because of growing concerns about digital health. The disruption in service impacted employees within Truepill’s recently acquired adult ADHD treatment company, Ahead. Reports say that Truepill was the preferred pharmacy partner of Cerebral, which is under federal investigation amid claims that employees felt pressure to prescribe drugs to customers.

In June, Viswanathan confirmed that he laid off an additional 15% of staff, impacting 150 people. Viswanathan said in a letter that the company was “focused on defining a new category in healthcare and growing top-line revenue,” but that was essential that the company operates “with a new level of financial discipline and prioritization, ensuring the longevity of Truepill for both our clients and our teams.”

With today’s layoff, the company is focused on boosting morale of the remaining staff. Per sources, Truepill will now conduct merit surveys for all employees to make sure everyone is being paid adequately. Additionally, remaining employees will also get two mental health days. Viswanathan told staff he will send executives to meet employees in-person in small groups.

Just weeks prior to Truepill’s layoffs, the company announced the hire of Paul Greenall as chief business officer, the first person to take on that position since launch. In April, Truepill hired its first CFO, Ana Schrank.

Meanwhile, resources remain in flux for impacted Truepill employees. A Slack group of former Truepill employees shows that those impacted by prior layoffs are struggling to get clarity on severance payments and land access to healthcare coverage.

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