December 15, 2022

CEO Geoff Schmidt’s message to Apollo employees

Geoff Schmidt

Geoff Schmidt

Apollo CEO Geoff Schmidt sent the following note to Apollo employees:

I have some difficult news to share. Today, we’re reducing the size of our team by approximately 15% and saying goodbye to some talented colleagues. Those who are leaving have already been notified as we wanted them to hear the news through a personal conversation wherever possible. We are providing them with a separation package that includes at least 15 weeks of base pay and other support I’ll detail below.

I am very sad to make this decision. It’s a consequence of the approach that Matt and I took in scaling the company over the last year, and we take full responsibility for the impact that will have on the lives of our departing team members. Please know that we carefully analyzed and considered many other options before making this painful decision.

Why we made this decision

Our business has grown dramatically over the last year and the supergraph now powers many of the products and services we use every day. But we are not yet profitable: we’ve taken full advantage of outside capital to speed our growth. That was good stewardship in a time when interest rates were low and venture capital was widely available on good terms. But economic conditions have changed and we believe that it’s no longer prudent to rely on outside capital to support us (and the Apollo community) in the long term. While we are already well capitalized, this difficult decision today puts the company in a strong position to become profitable without any further outside investment.

I must also acknowledge, though, that macroeconomic changes aren’t the only reason for today’s changes. Seeking to bring supergraph technology to every app developer, Matt and I made the decision to grow the company very quickly. Thanks to an incredible performance by our Talent Acquisition team, one of the best in the industry, we grew headcount 2.5x in about a year. But the problem is that growing the company 2.5x didn’t make us 2.5x more productive. It got harder to get things done because we didn’t add the right mix of skills and seniority levels to our team. As CEO, this mistake is my responsibility, and the root cause was setting a growth rate that was just too fast for us to sustain efficiently.

Though these changes are painful, they leave our company on firm ground. They refocus us on what matters most: giving our users and customers what they want, as efficiently as possible. And they mean that we can protect our independence, and serve our open source community, no matter what economic storms may come in the next few years.

Supporting our departing colleagues

While our obligation to be good stewards of the supergraph is always top of mind, we have an equally important obligation to take care of our departing team members. Here is what we are doing to support them in their transition to new roles:

  1. Severance pay: All departing employees are eligible for 15 weeks of base pay (through March 31), plus an additional week of pay per year of service.
  2. Health benefits: We’ll pay six months of COBRA coverage reimbursement for US employees and $300 towards any mental healthcare.
  3. Equity: We’re dropping the one-year cliff on option grants and extending the ability to exercise options through Dec. 31, 2023.
  4. Immigration support: We know this situation is particularly tough for visa holders, so we have dedicated support for those employees.
  5. Career support: We’ll connect our affected colleagues with new opportunities through our alumni support program.
  6. Equipment: To help with job searches, we won’t ask for the return of laptops (and any other office gear Apollo provided).

What makes this an especially sad day is how deeply committed these departing colleagues have been to Apollo and our community. We are very grateful for their service. I regret this ending to our journey together, and Matt and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led to it.

Going forward

Today, we’ll have a company all-hands at 1:00 PT to discuss the changes together. Tomorrow, we’ll host our usual AMA session at 9:30 PT. I know you will have many good questions, and we’ll extend the AMA so that we can answer as many as possible. While this week won’t be business as usual, I’m confident in our team’s resilience as we adjust to these changes and gear up for 2023. 

While the changes today are hard for everyone, I know we’re in a solid position thanks to our hard work over the past year. Downloads of our open-source frameworks crossed the half-billion mark. Federation, the industry’s standard open architecture for graph composition, is now supported by 27 languages and frameworks. From Black Friday through Cyber Monday, the supergraph served over 110 billion queries with no downtime. Thousands of the world’s largest enterprises have adopted Apollo, with our enterprise business growing over 100% year over year with best-in-class retention and expansion. Thank you to our team, community, and customers for getting us to this point. Helping you do great things will continue to be our focus.

Geoff and Matt

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Geoff Schmidt

Geoff Schmidt

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