Daily Daze

After Big Layoffs, BuyWithMe Being Acquired By Gilt Groupe, Slashes More Staff

What a bargain!

Betabeat has learned that Gilt Groupe is in the final stages of acquiring the troubled daily deal site BuyWithMe, which laid off more than half its staff last week to sweeten the deal for potential buyers. The sale is a win for Matrix Partners, who has invested in both firms, and been backing BuyWithMe across three rounds and $30 million in venture funding.

BuyWithMe will officially be part of Gilt starting Nov. 1. The remaining sales staff who were left after last week’s layoffs will be let go with one weeks pay. Gilt gets a lean company consisting largely of technology, a few executives, a large email list of customers and merchants partners in cities around the country. Read More

Buy Together Die Together

The Full Story Behind BuyWithMe’s Big Layoffs: Debts Come Due For Daily Deal Industry

One kind of pink slip can lead to another

Betabeat has been covering the layoffs at BuyWithMe since Wednesday, when more than half the staff, at least 100 people,  were laid off without warning or severance. There has been almost no word from the company or its management. As a result, we’ve had to rely mostly on anonymous sources who know bits and pieces. But over the last 24 hours, we’ve been able to put together some big pieces of the puzzle.

The statement released yesterday by CEO James Crowley, that the company was reorganizing to best serve its clients and customers, was disingenuous at best.  Numerous sources Betabeat spoke with confirmed that BuyWithMe is looking to be acquired by a larger player in the daily deal space, and has been for some time now. The layoffs were intended to make it a more attractive purchase.

How did BuyWithMe end up in such dire straights? Betabeat has heard from a source that not only did the company purchase six smaller startups in the last six months, burning through some of its capital, but it also took out a $10 million debt round from its backers that was never disclosed to the press. That goes a long way towards explaining how the company got to where it is today. Read More

Job Crunch

Layoffs at TheLadders: Jobs Site Lets Go of About 30 Staffers

TheLadder's 250 Hudson St. offices.

BuyWithMe wasn’t the only local company hemorrhaging jobs this week. Betabeat has learned that TheLadders laid off about 30 employees this week, across all departments.

“It was like Black Wednesday,” said the source of the overlapping job losses. However, where BuyWithMe let go of 55 percent of its staff, TheLadders downsizing was less severe, with seven percent of its 420 employees, according to our source who was familiar with the situation.

Until a month ago, TheLadders focused exclusively on the $100,000+ jobs market–its key differentiator in the market. The source said the layoffs were related to flat revenue growth at about $80 million, adding that the company’s two biggest expenses were people and marketing costs. “They already cut marketing significantly,” said the source, who called the job losses “cost cutting to reforecast budget due to lower than expected revenue growth.” Read More

Daily Daze

BuyWithMe Founder’s Axe List Included Employees He Didn’t Like

Maybe take out the comma.

Updates about the list from a former employee at the end of the post.

Second update from a source on who determined the firing list.

A source familiar with the situation revealed more details about the layoffs at BuyWithMe yesterday that left 55 percent of its staff unemployed without severance or warning. “The founder came back yesterday and literally made a list of people he liked and didn’t like and whacked everybody he didn’t like,” said the source.

“He’s not giving them anything,” added the source. “They were getting zero severance, zero warning. It’s perfect for a massive lawsuits kind of thing, which they’re probably going to get.”

The founder of BuyWithMe, the group buying deals site, is Andrew Moss. On his Twitter bio, Mr. Moss describes himself as, “Value-minded venture investor, Founder of BuyWithMe.com, former hedge fund COO/GC/CCO.” The company has also cycled through two CEOs, including an interim president when former CEO Cheryl Rosner stepped down last December. Read More

Daily Daze

Canned BuyWithMe Employee Says Company Died Because It Got Greedy

UPDATE: A source familiar with the situation says BuyWithMe founder Andrew Moss based layoffs on a list of employees he liked and didn’t like.

An employee of BuyWithMe who was laid off today, along with what he estimates to be about 55 percent of the staff, says the company went under because it got greedy.

“They were trying to raise a hundred million dollars at a $500 million valuation and there were no takers. If they had done a more conservative round, the company wouldn’t be in this kind of trouble.”

This employee says there is no hope of raising a round now and that the company is looking for a buyer. “They are hoping to just sell and get some of the value back.” Read More

the startup rundown

Startup News: Skillshare Shares New Courses and Tentative.ly Tentatively Launches

SHARE AND TELL. Skillshare is testing out “courses,” similar to the multi-part classes and certification programs at General Assembly. The first trial course is being run by CEO Mike Karnjanaprakhorn called “Launching Your Startup Idea.” “We’re looking to expand our class types so it’s not just one-off-classes,” he said.

IDK WE MIGHT GO. Does anyone else here hate Plancast? Betabeat does! We also hate Google Calendar! So much clicking! So it was of great interest to us to see that WeWork Labs-based startup Tentative.ly has soft launched to let you easily bookmark events across the web.

CAPTURE THE FOURSQUARE. From New Work City and New Zealand startup Snapr: “We are launching a new app – Capture the Flag “The Mobile Photosharing Game of World Domination” that’s built off our API and takes advantage of our soon to be announced location based gaming features. You can see a demo for the game and download the app here: http://capturethefl.ag/. In the game people join teams and then check in photos to win territory.” Read More

The Start-Up Rundown

Start-Up News: BuyWithMe Hires Xoogler as Xecutive; Plus Lot18, Skillshare and a Tumblr Killer

poutine pizza

DAILY EXECUTIVE DEAL. “On the heels of its fifth acquisition in the past five months, BuyWithMe today announced that it has hired Charlie Gray as Chief People Officer. Gray will work with the BuyWithMe team to help manage the company’s fast-paced and aggressive growth plans, and to hire, train and retain the best talent in both existing markets and new areas of expansion.” Buy with me, Charlie Gray. That has a nice ring to it.

CASH AND MONEY. “Lot18, the site that provides insider access to the best in wine and artisanal selections, announced an investment from ecommerce pioneers Marc Lore and Vinit Bharara, founders of Quidsi (best known for Diapers.com and Soap.com) – recently acquired by Amazon for $545 million. With more than 400k users and over $1 million in monthly sales, funds help Lot18 continue its momentous growth. Please find full details in the press release below.”

OH HAI. Jux.com, which lets users create full-frame pages, sort of like a Tumblr-meets-About.me-meets-PowerPoint, “like blogging in HD,” just officially launched. Read More

Seed Stage Slaughter

Scoop St. Sidesteps Tough Funding Market, Acquired by BuyWithMe

Co-founder Justin Tsang.

BuyWithMe, “a daily deal contender” or “Groupon clone,” depending on who’s doing the talking, announced last night that it acquired its fifth company this year. This time they plunked down cash for Scoop St., which took a hyper-local approach to discounted deals, focusing only in New York City. AllThingsD reports that the terms of the deal weren’t discussed, beyond the fact that it was all-cash, but considering Scoop St. just announced its own branded mobile app earlier this month along with a new lottery feature, it probably wasn’t in the works for that long.

A recent report from the 451 Group found that acquisitions were up in the suffocatingly crowded deals space, but the Scoop St. buyout is also another indicator of the impending seed stage slaughter we’ve been trying to warn you about, as the early stage funding banked in the heady days of 2010 runs out. Read More