Fast CEO Domm Holland (left) speaks with employees while at the company’s corporate office in San Francisco in 2021. The company announced Tuesday it has shuttered.
Fast, the San Francisco startup that was profiled by The Chronicle last year as an example of the changes in office culture because of the pandemic and remote work, is no more.
A statement on the company’s Twitter from CEO Domm Holland confirmed the company, a one-click online checkout startup that raised millions of dollars backed by fintech heavyweight Stripe, would shut down.
“After making great strides on our mission of making buying and selling frictionless for everyone, we have made the difficult decision to close our doors, Holland’s statement said. He took responsibility for the decisions that led the company’s demise in a tweet, and encouraged companies to hire his soon to be former employees.
Co-founder and COO Allison Barr Allen did not respond to emails seeking further comment.
A changed investor environment, along with a high cash burn rate and insufficient revenues led to the company’s coffers running dry, said one current employee with knowledge of the situation.
Asked in an email if those were the chief reasons for the company’s fate, Holland confirmed that they were.
The Chronicle had spent time with the roughly three-year-old company last year, as Holland and company grappled with the changes wrought by the pandemic on the modern workplace. The company sought to provide flexibility for employees to work anywhere as a recruiting tool, offering them perks beyond an airy San Francisco office to entice and sustain them.
Other stories looked at how permanent, flexible remote work had changed employees’ daily rituals like commutes, once an integral part of working life that have been transformed by the pandemic. Fast also tried to find a balance during the pandemic between offering the kinds of office environments tech workers have come to expect, while allowing them freedom to roam the state or the country.
That also led to employees setting up shop in co-working spaces in places around the nation, building their own group dynamics outside of the sometimes more pressurized office environment of years past.
The unprecedented public health crisis also drove the company to wrestle with how to keep employees healthy and connected to one another and their teams, staving off isolation and blurring of work life balance that has negatively affected the mental health of so many people.
Fast CEO Domm Holland sits for a portrait with a colleague’s dog named Henry while at the company’s corporate office in San Francisco. Holland took to Twitter Tuesday to say the company has shut down.
Fast appeared to be doing well during the pandemic, even expanding by opening an office in Tampa, Fla., where Holland relocated.
A letter sent by Holland to Fast employees Tuesday and confirmed by the current employee as genuine said, “All team members will no longer have roles with Fast and Fast’s brand and products will be retired. The Fast checkout button will also be removed from customer sites.”
Employees would receive financial support specified in personal letters, retain their healthcare through the end of May, and be allowed to keep laptops and other home office equipment, Holland wrote.
Many of the company’s engineers will become employees of San Francisco financial technology company Affirm, which offers loans to customers at the point of sale. Affirm confirmed in an emailed statement many of Fast’s engineers would come onboard but that Fast’s technology would not become part of theirs.
“While we do not have plans to get into the one-click checkout business, we look forward to welcoming many of Fast’s talented engineers to Affirm as we continue to advance our existing product roadmap in support of our mission to build honest financial products that improve lives.” Affirm spokesperson Matt Gross said in an email.
The state Employment Development Department said in an email it had no notices on file for Fast. Companies are required to alert the agency of layoffs in some circumstances.
This is not the first time one of Holland’s buzzy ventures has gone belly up. A native of Australia, the media there chronicled how a company he started in Queensland to handle towing for local authorities dissolved amidst legal disputes over storage fees and ultimately concerns about data privacy.
Chase DiFeliciantonio is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ChaseDiFelice
Chase DiFeliciantonio is a reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle on the Transformation team, where he covers tech culture, workplace safety and labor issues in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and beyond. Prior to joining The Chronicle, he covered immigration for the Daily Journal, a legal affairs newspaper, and a variety of beats at the North Bay Business Journal in Santa Rosa. Chase has degrees in journalism and history from Loyola University Chicago.


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