Kickstarter Layoffs 2024 and Latest Updates

In May 2020, Kickstarter announced massive layoffs and buyouts. This occurred in response to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With 25 layoffs and 30 voluntary buyouts, the reduction reached roughly 40% of its employees. The reduction was discussed with Kickstarter United, the employee union that had been formed earlier that year.

Kickstarter is an American public benefit company established in Brooklyn, New York. It offers a global crowd-funding platform for creative projects. The business aims to “help bring creative projects to life.” By February 2023, Kickstarter had raised US$7 billion in pledges from 21.7 million supporters, funding 233,626 projects. Recently, Kickstarter has undergone a major leadership shakeup.

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Layoffs at Kickstarter

Kickstarter stood as an essential source of funding even in the face of the pandemic and the wave of layoffs and buyouts that came with it. According to the firm, in 2020, the comics category has raised over $127 million since the crowdfunding platform’s start in 2009. In 2020, the comics category had a 73% success rate and generated more than $25 million.

But, like any other business, Kickstarter was hit hard by the pandemic, which followed nationwide lockdowns. The company’s new campaigns dropped by up to 40% in March and April. The consequent income loss caused them to announce a round of 25 layoffs in May 2020. This happened in addition to the 30 employee buyouts negotiated by management.

Kickstarter is one of the technological companies that has unionized. Employees did so in February 2020 under the label of Kickstarter United. It was following a particularly drawn-out set of negotiations with management that began in 2019. It happened on the same day that former CEO and co-founder Perry Chen resigned and turned over control to Hasan.

The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) represents Kickstarter’s union. It engaged in discussions with management about the layoffs. It’s not clear which departments were most affected by the cuts, though.

In early May 2020, an agreement was reached. Kickstarter offered voluntary buyouts to union members as well as the option to opt out of health insurance coverage in exchange for partial payment.

As part of the agreement, Kickstarter eventually offered those leaving a severance package. It included

  • four months’ pay,
  • four months of health care coverage for employees earning more than $110,001 per year and six months for those earning less,
  • the cancellation of any existing non-compete agreements, and
  • The opportunity to rejoin the company if their position reopened within a year.

As of February 2020, the union included 85 engineers, directors, analysts, designers, coordinators, and customer service specialists. It accounted for around 60% of the company’s 140 employees before the layoffs.

Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan told teammates of the planned layoffs in an internal memo. At the time, Hasan reported a 35% reduction in new projects on the platform, with “no clear signs of rebound.”

Due to Kickstarter’s reliance on a 5% fee for each successful campaign, the pandemic’s initial effects were severe. It resulted in a 40% reduction in new campaigns throughout March and April. This slump required a restructure to ensure the company’s long-term viability.

Margot Atwell was then in charge of publishing and comics. He remarked that Kickstarter needs to downsize. This is to adjust to the reduced number of project launches and sustain its operations. Kickstarter made a strategic pivot by launching projects such as “Lights On” and “Inside Voices.” These projects motivated cultural spaces and individual creators to use the site throughout the crisis.

Kickstarter’s CEO stepped down

Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan left the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding platform at the end of March 2022. The business announced this on March 22, 2022. Sean Leow, the company’s COO, served as interim CEO while the Kickstarter board sought a permanent replacement at that time.

Hasan said he decided to quit after much “personal reflection” on his creative work. He needed to spend more time with his family. Hasan believes he is leaving the organization, which has been smashing fundraising pledge records for several years, to support an ever-expanding ecosystem of creative enterprises.

Hasan was headed during a time when employees left Kickstarter due to layoffs and voluntary buyouts. At the time, the firm attributed a 35% decline in new projects on its site during the early stages of the pandemic.

Everette Taylor is the present CEO of Kickstarter. He is a US-based business executive. Since September 2022, he has served as the CEO of Kickstarter, CMO of Artsy, and creator of ET Enterprises.

Kickstarter’s latest updates

Kickstarter added a feature called “Late Pledge.”. It allows campaign creators to raise additional funds after their campaign has ended. This technology was launched in 2024 following successful pilot testing. It will enable creators who achieve their initial targets to raise additional funds.

Previously, creators had to engage third-party platforms to continue collecting donations after their campaign was over. Late Pledge expands Kickstarter’s range of funding and project launch options.

This upgrade is part of Kickstarter’s bigger plan. It began under CEO Everette Taylor to help creators throughout their journey. The platform also added fresh features. They are a performance marketing team that assists with marketing campaigns and improves survey options for award fulfillment.

According to Kickstarter, “We’ve been carefully building and evaluating our in-house performance marketing service. It has a select group of creators. So far, our performance team has assisted creators in raising nearly $1 million in pledges.”

“We’re going above and beyond the basic crowdfunding model. This is to help you drive pledges and realize your idea as we support creators’ marketing needs before, during, and after their campaign.”

Kickstarter revamps leadership team

Kickstarter is restructuring its leadership. It is eliminating seven senior executives and promoting two others to prominent roles. These are done as part of its rebranding efforts.

Those who are leaving include:

  • The company’s chief legal officer,
  • Chief Strategy Officer,
  • vice president of product,
  • vice president of creators and
  • vice president of backer success.

Meanwhile, Courtney Brown Warren has been elevated to Chief Marketing Officer. Mahesh Guruswamy has been appointed as Chief Product and Technology Officer.

CEO Everette Taylor, who took leadership in 2022, announced the change. He cited the need for a more flexible and collaborative workplace. The changes are intended to improve management and strengthen Kickstarter’s creative projects and community.

This comes after a period of gradual growth and disputes within the company. It included a heated union effort and a major fundraising round in 2021 headed by Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto subsidiary.

Taylor announced the restructuring at an all-hands meeting after employee surveys and a board decision to reduce the management team. The news of the changes had already traveled around the workplace. This is due to an automated notice on Slack about terminated accounts.


Kickstarter was once a buzzy startup in New York’s growing tech industry. Now, it has been attempting to remake itself after years of slowed growth, CEO turnover, and bitter unionization efforts by rank-and-file employees. Now, the firm’s latest attempt to reclaim its relevance under CEO Everette Taylor is happening!

According to a Kickstarter spokesperson,

“Kickstarter is going through a strategic restructure. This is to become a more flexible and collaborative business. This includes a simpler management structure, streamlined workflows, and teams that are linked for better synergy. This move is going to enable us to serve better the creative projects and communities that lie at the heart of Kickstarter.”

When contacted by phone, email, or LinkedIn by sources, affected staff members declined to comment or did not respond.