BREAKING: Troubled poop-testing startup uBiome is laying off half its staff

On a cloudy Wednesday morning in San Francisco, the moment uBiome’s employees had been expecting for months finally arrived. The beleaguered poop-testing startup began laying off about half its staff, as the company searches for a path forward after an FBI raid and the departures of its founders. At uBiome’s headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa…

BREAKING: Troubled poop-testing startup uBiome is laying off half its staff

On a cloudy Wednesday morning in San Francisco, the moment uBiome’s employees had been expecting for months finally arrived. The beleaguered poop-testing startup began laying off about half its staff, as the company searches for a path forward after an FBI raid and the departures of its founders. At uBiome’s headquarters in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, people who’d just been let go began streaming out of a grey warehouse building around 9:30 a.m. Some carried potted plants. One blasted the Phil Collins rock anthem “You’ll be in my heart” out of iPhone speakers. “It was a s— show on Monday, it’s a s— show today,” one said as she left, to no one in particular. A troubled stretch for uBiome In all, uBiome cut 114 of the 229 people it employed, according to a person familiar with the situation — 42 from its US operations and 72 in Latin America. With all but one exception, people who were let go held mid-level roles across departments including finance, medical affairs, lab operations, communications, and design. uBiome’s chief operating officer, Nathaniel Walton, was also let go, as was Susan Zneimer, one of the company’s lab directors. Neither person responded to emails or messages sent by Business Insider. The job cuts forced uBiome to pause running samples for its last remaining test, an $89 kit known as Explorer, according to an internal message seen by Business Insider. The company confirmed the halt in a statement, and said testing would resume when a new lab director is in place. The layoffs are the latest episode in a turbulent stretch for uBiome, whose tests rely on samples of human poop. The company’s troubles first burst into public view in April, when the FBI raided the startup, as part of an investigation into uBiome’s billing practices, The Wall Street Journal reported. Last month, cofounders and co-CEOs Zachary Apte and Jessica Richman resigned, along with John Rakow, uBiome’s general counsel and interim CEO. Rakow had taken the lead role after Apte and Richman were placed on administrative leave after the FBI raid. To run the company, uBiome’s board of directors appointed three new executives from the consulting firm Goldin Associates. Five insiders told Business Insider they’ve been expecting layoffs ever since the FBI raid. “As we work to implement a go-forward plan for uBiome, we are making changes to the Company’s organizational structure that impact certain teams and positions,” Curtis Solsvig, the interim uBiome CEO and a director at Goldin, said in a statement provided to Business Insider. “This was a difficul
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