A look back at SLO startup Shopatron, as Kibo announces local layoffs
The e-commerce company that used to be Shopatron but is now known as Kibo has laid off an unspecified number of workers at its San Luis Obispo office as it looks to consolidate at its Dallas office.
Though the timing of the decision is unconfirmed, several online sources indicate the layoffs occurred within the past week, meaning those former employees are without jobs right before the holidays.
Kibo is considered an “omnichannel” commerce platform, which helps companies with point-of-sale solutions, payment processing, web-based merchandising, website content management and design, distributed order management and more, according to its website.
The layoffs come after the company laid off about eight local workers in April as part of a consolidation triggered by the merger of Shopatron, MarketLive Inc. of Petaluma and Fiverun of San Francisco.
In a statement, Kibo Senior Vice President of Talent Eric Buhrfeind said the company is consolidating “certain company functions to our Dallas, Texas, headquarters that are today fragmented across our five U.S. offices.”
“While this change means we will have a phased reduction for some workforce in various offices, there are several key functions that will be maintained in San Luis Obispo. We will not be commenting on specific force reduction by office.”
Kibo spokeswoman Mariana Fischbach declined to comment further on the layoffs.
In the past week, numerous anonymous complaints of Kibo’s decision to lay off workers have been posted to company review website Glassdoor.
One, from a person who identified themselves as a merchant support specialist in San Luis Obispo, said the most recent round of layoffs occurred a week before Christmas.
“Way to go trying to fix something that wasn’t broken,” the anonymous worker wrote. “It is incredibly sad and such a shame. Shopatron was once respected and a pillar in the community. It meant something to work there. Now it’s circling the drain and one huge joke.”
Since Dec. 13, seven people who identified themselves as Kibo employees gave the company a one-star rating on Glassdoor, with many mentioning mass layoffs as a negative aspect of working for the business. The company has a 2.2 rating on the website.
The locally based Shopatron employed about 160 people in San Luis Obispo and 10 in England when it was sold in November 2015 to Vista Equity Partners, a private U.S.-based equity firm focused on investing in software and technology-enabled businesses.
At that time, Shopatron CEO Ed Stevens said that all current employees would be retained.
The company rebranded under the Kibo name in December 2015 as part of its merger with several other Vista-owned tech companies.
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