Layoffs at drone maker Kespry

Should you find yourself browsing companies on Glassdoor some rather telling comments hove into view from those that have and those that do work at Kespry. Crunchbase has the company raising $61.4 million in VC funding.

The first comment suggests more than 30 employees were let go in November 2018.

Other comments point to a less than welcoming work environment for new hires and lack of direction for the product.

Now of course this might just be one or two unhappy campers venting.

HUGE layoff at end of November 2018 – company isn’t even close to hitting sales goals and is burning cash too fast. Needed to cut expenses to TRY and stay above water

Lack of clear vision or company direction – core (small) market is approaching saturation, and no strong product or approach to penetrate other segments

Very little product innovation or development – competition is blowing past Kespry – no clear road map or focus.

Advice to Management

If you are trying to survive and not just sell off the company, create some transparency. If the company is struggling, just laying off 30+ people kills morale and encourages your strong people to leave. Let everyone know what’s really going on so they can help to fix it.

Create a realistic vision and focused direction for the company, then EXECUTE against the plan. Way too many pivots and side projects that aren’t aligned to the supposed focus.

You have a large development team – what the heck are they doing? The product has had no significant enhancements in over a year.

Another employee

I have been working at Kespry full-time


Good pay

-Free lunch everyday

-*some* really friendly and kind coworkers, and *some* that genuinely work really hard/help others in efforts to make Kespry successful however they can.

industry and customers are really down to earth people, and the aggregates/mining/insurance customers we serve aren’t traditional “tech” customers.

-some days leadership intermingles with staff at either happy hours or lunches.


-legacy employees are rude, bossy, and bully others, and gang up with each other to keep the company going the way they want it to.

-no diversity whatsoever, and definitely no mention of company positions/efforts to hire equitably and inclusively — let alone prioritize inclusion initiatives for existing employees. Just look at our board and leadership bios on our website…enough said. There’s no company dialogue on bringing people of different backgrounds to that management/board level. It’s embarassing to be a part of a company so silent on any pressing and important equity dialogues, while so loud on other “pet project” initiatives from employees with the loudest voices and connections directly to the CEO to prioritize these initiatives (Breakline “partnerships”)

-no real promotion paths unless you are a legacy employee, and the only visible promotions celebrated are….the legacy people…

no long term product vision, lots of infighting and finger pointing. No one knows what success looks like for Kespry long term.

-morale is reaaaallllyyy low and energy/focus is dangerously low, making it difficult to feel excited to work here nowadays

-some team members (esp engineering) get away/exploit working remotely way too regularly, and no one from their respective management team provides a strong managerial voice to keep their teams in check — offices are regularly empty and quiet on Thursdays and Fridays.

-industry is proving harder to sell to, product saturation is increasing and competitors catching up.

-The blind drinking of the product kool-aid has led this company to run in circles for way too long.

-NO HR DEPARTMENT – it’s a mix of current business roles that have to fake operate as HR in different ways, but not really taking care of HR itself. it really, really shows.

Advice to Management

-engineering should stop pointing fingers and ganging up with each other to oust anyone but their own team and take a hard look at engineering productivity and lack of team collaboration. They’re all busy looking outward and blaming others when their employees are consistently not in the office or willing to work as a coherent unit with the rest of the organization. Many are difficult to work with or just plain don’t show up for really crazy reasons/long vacations and get away with it. How is this ok??

-Legacy employees and lack of new vision/strong senior leadership is running this place to the ground. You get low morale and employee frustration because of the way this place is run.

-Promote from within more broadly and reward hard working employees (not just *your* favorites that are already middle/senior level management for no real reason), and celebrate your promotions consistently.

-Figure out a long lasting product vision and roadmap ASAP.

You’re working some team members really hard, to no recognition or appreciation. Often times, it’s the opposite when it trickles down to staff – lots of cracking the whip and blunt frustration from management/leaders after it’s too late. Stop blaming the employees, without looking around at who makes the decisions and how.

Provide a safe, happy, and enjoyable place to work for everyone of all backgrounds.

No elitism, “looking down from your high castle”, or bro/boys stereotypical Silicon Valley tech startup. You’re really going to struggle long term unless you course correct, and do it aggressively. Making excuses for culture and inclusion will and has backfired already.

-be more transparent, and be realistic about our industry, product, and team. Struggling to hit financial goals quarterly is not something you just glaze over for 2 minutes in an all hands, and neither is aggressive staff attrition for reasons above. People are probably plenty happier at another company run way better, and that is sad for the Kespry team.

I will let you read further dear reader

I have reached out to Kespry for comment and will amend this post if I receive any.

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