TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.
For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But that was all in the past, interim CEO Bob Crutchfield told employees Monday at an all-staff meeting, because the founder of grocery delivery company Shipt was buying CareSync.
"We’re on incredibly good financial footing," Crutchfield said in a video recording of the Monday meeting. "We have a stability now that allows us to grow to the future."
Then the deal with Shipt unraveled, according to former employees and letters from the company to its staff obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
CareSync ceased operations Thursday, laying off nearly 300 employees.
CareSync’s main phone line was not accepting calls Friday morning, and a pre-recorded message said the company was shutting down because it could not find a buyer or strategic partner. The company offered an online platform to help patients with under Medicare keep all of their medical records, appointments and prescription schedules in one place. Its patient portal would still be operational for the time being, the message said.
In one of two letters to employees that the Times obtained, CareSync chief operating officer Joy Powell said the company had been seeking a buyer but was unsuccessful. CareSync has filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification informing the state of Florida that all 292 employees were being laid off as of Thursday.
Of those, 167 worked at the company’s Tampa headquarters, while 125 were at its Wachula location.
The shuttering came as a shock to employees, who on Monday were told by Shipt founder Bill Smith that he and his family were buying the company. Smith was visiting employees at the Tampa office. Though he currently helms Shipt, the grocery delivery company was not involved in the deal.
"My family will own 100 percent of the company going forward," Smith told employees in a video recording of the Monday meeting. "We’re making a very significant financial commitment to the company, and my perspective on this is that we’re going to build this company for the long-term. I didn’t come into this thing to flip this company in a couple years."
Contacted Friday, Smith gave this statement: "A syndicate of investors, including the Smith Family Office, had intentions to acquire CareSync. We were hopeful that our support could save the company and would ultimately lead to a successful outcome for everyone involved, including the employees. Unfortunately the company ran out of time."
Terms of the discussed sale were not available.
Outwardly, CareSync had appeared to be on an upward trajectory in recent years. It moved its headquarters to a $4.5 million office space in northern Hillsborough County and had raised more than $28 million in funding from private investors over the past three years. As of late 2016, it was looking to double its workforce.
As of Friday morning, some employees still hadn’t been notified officially. JoJo Hernandez, a single mother who worked for the company since 2016, said coworkers let her know the company had shuttered. Now she’s worried about being able to pay rent.
"Travis Bond’s favorite words were, ‘We are one family,’ " she said. "Where are they now?"