Zume, the Softbank-backed food delivery business, announced it is laying off approximately 360 employees (half their workforce) and shuttering their robotic pizza operations.
The Background: Zume got its start by using robotics to automate the pizza preparation process. Once prepped, Zume’s pies were loaded into food trucks and cooked en-route via GPS enabled ovens, ensuring a piping hot pie upon delivery. In 2018, Softbank ordained Zume worthy of unicorn status and invested $375 million at a valuation of $1 billion to help expand into other food categories.
The Shift: Alex Garden, the pizza pioneer and CEO, announced the layoffs on Wednesday and declared the company would be shifting its focus to sustainable packaging solutions.
- The Takeaway: Just another day at the office for Softbank, which has famously disappeared billions of dollars with ill-timed investments in WeWork, Uber, and a seemingly endless list of other bombs. At this point their $100 billion “Vision” Fund needs to finalize that name change. Luckily for individual investors, most of these failures have been confined to the private markets.