Saturday Feb 04, 2023

S.F. startup featured in Chronicle series about work culture during the pandemic has dissolved – San Francisco Chronicle


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.

Brontë Wittpenn/The Chronicle

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.”

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