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Hightail Chops Workforce by Half in Wake of CEO's Ouster

New CEO Ranjith Kumaran says the plan is to return to profitability.

Illustration by Re/code

Hightail, the cloud storage and file-sharing company formerly known as YouSendit, is in the process of cutting about 100 jobs, or about half of its employees.

Ranjith Kumaran, the company’s co-founder and new CEO, confirmed the cuts in an interview with Re/code. He declined to specify a number, but said the company plans to go forward with about 100 people. Its most recent headcount was in the neighborhood of 200 employees. The cuts were still under way this afternoon.

He said his plan is to lead the company to profitability, and that the core business of file transfer, delivery and tracking is “doing well.”

Kumaran took over as CEO last week following the departure of Brad Garlinghouse. The former Yahoo executive who led the company’s rebranding from YouSendit to Hightail had advocated selling the company after getting several offers.

As Re/code reported last week, Hightail’s board of directors disagreed, Garlinghouse resigned and Kumaran took over as CEO.

Hightail has been operating in a crowded and highly competitive space occupied by larger and better-funded rivals including Dropbox, Box and Egnyte. It had been approached by at least two companies, Barracuda Networks and NetApp, for a possible buyout in recent weeks, but its board has determined that the company will remain independent for now.

Hightail raised a $34 million Series E round led by Western Digital Capital, the investment arm of the hard-drive manufacturer, less than a year ago. Kumaran said that money “remains in the bank,” so there is no need to raise capital for the time being. “I’m comfortable with our capital position and burn rate,” he said.

With the core business doing well, Kumaran says his plan is to develop the product offerings in order to better compete with its rivals. “Innovation is what’s going to drive value-creation right now,” he said. “We want to get our next generation product out as soon as humanly possible.”

In perhaps a bit of irony, the company was as of yesterday advertising for at least one open job. The listing appeared on its Twitter feed, seeking an architect for Hightail’s mobile and desktop apps.

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