Immigration startup Boundless consolidates customer service team; 31 employees affected

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Boundless CEO Xiao Wang. (Boundless Photo)

Seattle-based startup Boundless laid off four employees and asked 27 workers to relocate to Las Vegas as part of what CEO Xiao Wang described as a restructuring.

The online immigration service in September raised $7.5 million and acquired its rival RapidVisa, which had a customer operations center at its headquarters in Las Vegas.

Boundless, which employs 140 people, decided to consolidate its customer support teams to Las Vegas. As a result, employees in Seattle and elsewhere were asked to move to Las Vegas.

“We feel like this is the best way moving forward for us to be able to grow and support 10 times as many customers in the coming years,” Wang said.

Employees who are asked to relocate have one month to make a decision. Their salaries will adjust for local wages in Las Vegas.

Wang acknowledged the impact on affected employees and their families.

“At the same time, I have a duty to the rest of our employees to make the best decisions I can in support of the long term health of the business,” he said. “I take that responsibility seriously, balancing all of the constituents of Boundless (customers, team members, and investors).”

Following the acquisition of RapidVisa, Wang said the startup explored different ways to create “an effective and great customer experience” that was also scalable from a business and financial perspective.

“This was not the intended outcome when we made the acquisition,” he said.

Maxime Preaux, a former senior software engineer at Boundless who left in November, expressed disappointment and skepticism about the decision. “This is not about consolidation,” he told GeekWire. “It’s about cutting costs.”

Davida Marion, another former senior engineer, expressed frustration with the impact of the decision on employees. “Life’s not fair, but it’s frustrating that they’re the ones incurring the cost of bad decisions and a broken system while the leadership team keeps their jobs, their salaries, and their homes,” she said.

Boundless helps customers connect with attorneys, file applications online, and receive support throughout the immigration process. The company spun out of Pioneer Square Labs in 2017.

The past four years have been a roller coaster for Boundless in between the Trump administration’s immigration policies and the pandemic both shutting down travel and slowing processing at embassies and consulates.

Wang said he’s excited about the opportunities for Boundless ahead given President Biden’s recent action on immigration.

Wang, a former Amazon product manager who was a finalist for Startup CEO of the Year at the 2020 GeekWire Awards, co-founded Boundless with Doug Rand and Serdar Sutay.

Boundless has raised $18 million to date from investors including Foundry Group, Two Sigma Ventures, Trilogy Equity Partners, Pioneer Square Labs, Forefront Ventures, and Kevin Mahaffey.

Read more at www.geekwire.com

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