Denver-based software company Poppulo laid off 80 employees as tech industry downsizing continues

Poppulo, a Denver-based software development company, laid off 80 employees at the end of April, including 20 workers in Colorado.

The move follows downsizing in the tech industry that started in 2022, with impacted companies including Twitter, Microsoft, Dell Technologies Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc., the owner of Facebook and Instagram. But other Colorado sectors aren’t immune to layoffs either, with the energy, cannabis and manufacturing sectors also taking blows earlier this year.

Although inflation is steadily slowing, and the U.S. isn’t in a recession yet, the economic forecast for 2023 remains shaky.

“We made the difficult decision to reduce our global workforce by approximately 12%,” said Eoin Byrne, chief people officer at Poppulo. Founded in 2011, the company specializes in communications and workplace technology.

With its headquarters at 1221 Broadway in Denver, Poppulo also maintains offices in Massachusetts, Ireland and England. Out of the laid-off employees, 53 live in the U.S., 17 in Ireland and 10 in the U.K., said spokesperson Renee Soto.

News goes viral

The layoffs caught the internet’s attention when former employee Chris Callahan took his frustrations to LinkedIn this week. He criticized leadership’s response in the aftermath of the layoffs in a post that’s since received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

The 35-year-old’s start as an account executive at the company began last September, with excitement about his manager and the product, he said in a phone call. But Callahan, who lives in the greater Boston area, said he and other employees suspected layoffs might occur in June.

Months earlier than anticipated, Callahan learned the news during a companywide meeting, and lost access to his Slack soon after. He took issue with the eight days of severance offered to him.

After he lost his job, several of his questions have gone unanswered about commission and negotiations to his severance, Callahan said. He last heard from them on May 5, which was also confirmed by the company.

“My incident is not isolated,” Callahan said. “I had no, no, no intentions of going public with this until they started to ignore me and workers.”

“This is about communication and treating people the right way.”

Byrne at Poppulo said the impacted employees’ separation package includes “notice pay, severance based on individual tenure, and extended medical coverage, as well as the payment of owed commissions in accordance with long-established company policy and practice.”

Within the package, the minimum offer for severance was 13 days – five days of notice pay and eight days of tenure-based severance. It also provided medical coverage through June 30, according to the company.

The average tenure-based severance for Colorado employees was 6.8 weeks – or 7.8 weeks, if notice pay is included, the company said.

Commissions are in the process of either being paid or have already been issued to impacted employees, according to the company.

“While we cannot comment on individual employment matters, our team has been accessible and responsive to all impacted individuals through the appropriate channels as we continue working to address each situation on a case-by-case basis,” Byrne said.

For now, Callahan is focused on finding a new job to support his wife and 3-year-old son, but the LinkedIn post has already led to potential interviews.

“Through this experience, I was able to see that there is a whole world of people out there who have been through this,” Callahan said.

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