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Data shows Fitbit slimmed down before being digested by Google

3 months ago by Jon Marino in Big Tech, Consumer, Earnings

Fitness technology and application company Fitbit ($NYSE:FIT) is being bought out by Alphabet ($NASDAQ:GOOG), bringing to an end the painful saga for investors who dove headlong into the fitness tracking technology after its 2015 IPO. 

And, Fitbit looks to be doing exactly what its product is meant for, in advance of the transaction: it's slimming down. 

It's been a tough go for Fitbit since the IPO, and over a recent three-month period job postings declined more than 18%. Through Thinknum Alternative Data, we can track the individual roles in which Fitbit is hiring more (like marketing) as well as the ones for which it is posting fewer jobs, like sales and software engineering. 

Job postings may be shrinking; headcount hasn't (yet). 

The $2.1 billion buyout price from Google cements Fitbit's status as a unicorn forever - but not in a good way. After its 2015 IPO, the company lost nearly half of its value on public markets, as analysts and investors debated whether it was a product or a platform. Now, it's going to be an Alphabet subsidiary, which effectively settles the debate. The company - as tracked by our LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:LNKD) Headcount - has only grown slightly across 2019. Already, the company appears to have removed federal filings investors would use to track headcount - so our data may be the most up to date count. 

Finally, we can track Fitbit's growth in terms of new ratings submitted to users of its product, to Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) via its app store. For Fitbit, ratings have begun to level off after years of growth, suggesting that engagement may be waning. Much of the other data - including our last chart, tracking how much people are talking about a given brand on Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) - certainly seems to back it up.  

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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