Layoffs hit drone-maker Yuneec, and could be as high as 70% of U.S. staff
Layoffs hit drone-maker Yuneec, and could be as high as 70% of U.S. staff

It’s been a year of downsizing for the drone industry, and Typhoon drone maker Yuneec is the next to take a hit.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed on Friday that Yuneec laid off staff in its Americas division, as first reported by Gary Mortimer of SUAS News.

“After careful analysis of our 2016 results, we concluded that we upsized operations faster than our growth required,” according to a statement issued by Yuneec. “With much reflection, we made the difficult decision to scale back our business structure to a secure balance between operational costs and revenue.”

Because the company is privately held, Yuneec’s spokeswoman would not comment on how many people were cut, though Mortimer reported that the layoffs could be as many as 50 to 70% of staff.

Yuneec received $60 million in funding from Intel’s venture-capital arm, which at the time took a 15% stake in Yuneec, according to former CEO Shan Phillips. That stake, which was not publicly disclosed, would suggest Yuneec was valued at $400 million.

“(The layoffs) are by no means a negative reflection of our industry or of Yuneec’s  business success within the industry,” according to Yuneec’s statement. “Merely, we have decided to restructure our Americas division to become a more responsive and healthy business unit which will rely on improved team efficiencies. We will continue to grow our market share and add value to the electronic aviation industry.”

Yuneec is not the only drone company to see lay-offs.  In September, 3D Robotics laid off 150 members of its staff. Two months later, GoPr  announced it would lay off 200 employees after recalling its Karma drone because they were falling from the sky. The company cut 270 more jobs this week. Parrot announced in January a plan to reduce its drone team of 840 employees by 290 people—about one-third. Autel saw layoffs in February. In January, the makers of Lily, a widely-hyped drone that never actually made it to market, announced they were calling it quits. And as reported by Recode today, Lily said it wasn’t sure on how long it would take to provide refunds, after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of February.

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About the Author: Nana Gastaldi