SAN FRANCISCO—Messaging startup Hustle projected the picture of Silicon Valley largess. The company spent millions of dollars raised from investors such as Alphabet Inc. on expensive new hires, on-tap kombucha, arcade games and a six-figure salary for its pedigreed chief executive.
So it came as a shock to many employees earlier this month when co-founder and CEO Roddy Lindsay sent them an early-morning email announcing mass layoffs. Before the week was done, even the espresso machine was ripped out of the kitchen at Hustle’s San Francisco headquarters.
Hustle is hardly the first startup to spend lavishly in an era of technology riches. What is new these days: The bill is coming due