Airbnb-backed Zeus Living just laid off 30% percent of staff as the coronavirus upends travel and hospitality startups

Airbnb-backed Zeus Living just laid off 30% percent of staff as the coronavirus upends travel and hospitality startups

Zeus Living Founders

  • Venture-backed business travel startup Zeus Living laid off 30% of their staff, or almost 80 employees, on Tuesday.
  • Zeus Living joins fellow venture-backed hospitality companies Sonder and Lyric, which have all laid of employees this month as coronavirus slows travel to a crawl.
  • Zeus Living raised $55 million from a range of backers, including Airbnb and Comcast, late last year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Zeus Living, an Airbnb-backed business travel startup, just laid off workers as the coronavirus upends hospitality and real estate, Business Insider has learned.

In a statement provided to Business Insider, the company confirmed that it has laid off 30% of staff, or almost 80 people.


Zeus Living rents furnished properties for stays of longer than 30 days in six metro-areas around the country, including New York, catering specifically to business travelers. The company has direct partnerships with other companies, like scooter startup Bird, which use Zeus as a replacement for extended-stay hotels for employees.

The company raised a $55 million Series B round at a $205 million valuation in December of last year from a range of backers, including Airbnb and Comcast. It had previously raised $14 million in venture funding across two rounds.

"Given the effects of COVID-19 on the real estate industry, today we are sad to announce a 30% reduction in staff. Our people have made Zeus the exceptional place it is," a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. "These are colleagues and friends who have helped build Zeus and whose contributions have been invaluable. We remain steadfast in our dedication to our residents and communities, especially the health care and agency professionals working tirelessly to combat this pandemic."


The coronavirus has triggered a wave of layoffs in the venture-backed real estate startup world. Lyric, another hospitality company that has raised money from Airbnb, cut 20% of its staff earlier this March, according to a report from The Real Deal.

Sonder, a venture-backed hospitality and rental company, laid off or furloughed more than 400 people or one third of their staff, The Information reported earlier on Tuesday. Sonder CEO Francis Davidson confirmed that there had been layoffs in a Medium post posted on Tuesday. The news comes just a day after Sonder announced that it would be opening a full-building apartment hotel in lower Manhattan in the first half of this year.

There have been other layoffs outside of the hospitality and flexible-rental space: Brookfield-backed flex and event space company Convene laid off 20% of its staff last week, while Softbank-backed brokerage Compass announced layoffs of 15% of its staff on Monday.


Get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.