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Shakeups

Shakeups

Deposed Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson Named the CEO of Room 77, a Hotel Search Startup

drew-16

Skift broke the news today that former Jetsetter cofounder Drew Patterson was named the new CEO of Room 77, a hotel price comparison startup that raised almost $44 million in funding from investors like Expedia, Concur, Bob Pittman, and General Catalyst Partners.

Mr. Patterson was CEO of Jetsetter–a flash sales luxury travel site operated independently under the Gilt Groupe umbrella–for more than three years until Gilt Groupe chairman Kevin Ryan asked him to step down last May. The move by Jetsetter’s board followed an exodus of senior executives, low morale, and fears of a “mutiny” among staffers.  Read More

Shakeups

Gilt Reportedly Looking for IPO-Friendly CEO to Replace Kevin Ryan [UPDATED]

Mr. Ryan (Photo: Invoke Media)

Weeks after news broke that flash sales giant Gilt Groupe put its travel deals site, Jetsetter, up for sale, the Wall Street Journal reports that Gilt is looking for a new CEO to replace company founder Kevin Ryan. Sources told the Journal that Mr. Ryan and the Gilt board agreed two months ago to quietly begin the hunt for a new CEO who can help usher the struggling e-commerce site towards a successful IPO.

Despite flailing forays into verticals like menswear and travel, Gilt is still eyeing going public within the next 18 months, and wants a CEO who can revamp Mr. Ryan’s business strategy in order to “generate sufficiently predictable profits.” Read More

Shakeups

Following New Details of Buddy Media Acquisition, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Lays off Employees [Updated]

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (Photo: Wikipedia)

After rumors began swirling on Twitter about layoffs at Salesforce, the cloud-computing company confirmed to Business Insider that it has laid off a fair chunk of its Radian6 employees. Salesforce says that less than 100 employees were impacted, but considering that Radian6 boasts only 320 employees total (according to Crunchbase), that’s still almost a third of the staffers being shown the door.

Radian6, a social media monitoring platform, is an integral part of Salesforce’s big play for a piece of the social marketing space. It acquired Radian6 back in March 2011 in order to build out the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Read More

Shakeups

In Internal Memo, a Contrite Marc Pincus Admits to Cutting 5 Percent of Zynga’s Full-Time Staffers

Mr. Pincus (Photo: Wikipedia)

In response to questions about layoffs, Zynga emailed Betabeat an internal memo that CEO Marc Pincus sent out to staffers this afternoon. In the note, Mr. Pincus confirmed that the company cut approximately five percent of its full-time workforce today, including the shuttering of its Boston studio and mass layoffs at its Austin location.

Mr. Pincus also said that Zynga is proposing closures of its Japan and U.K. offices. In addition, the company will be sunsetting 13 of its games and reducing investment in TheVille, a Facebook game that’s facing a lawsuit from EA for looking a whole lot like a Sims game.

In the memo, Mr. Pincus wrote that he believes the cost-cutting measures will “improve our profitability and allow us to reinvest in great games and our Zynga network on web and mobile.”

The memo comes after a day of intense rumors about the flailing social gaming company filled the tech universe. Despite the fact that the news emerged during the attention-sapping Apple keynote, TechCrunch reported that the timing of the news had more to do with Zynga’s impending earnings call, scheduled for tomorrow, than with the Apple presentation. Read More

Shakeups

Zynga Reportedly Lays Off 100+ Employees During the Apple Keynote Because No One Will Even Notice, Right Guys?

All about those Bitcoi(Photo: Insider Monkey)

Social gaming company Zynga has endured a rough couple of months. After its acquisition of the NYC-based company OMGPOP–producers of the fad-friendly game Draw Something–Zynga has experienced a downward spiral. Earlier this month, it reported an estimated net loss of $90 million to $105 million for its third quarter, sending its already-low stock price into a tailspin. Now, The Next Web reports that the company has laid off 100 staffers from its Austin headquarters, and may even be shuttering its Boston office altogether. Read More

Shakeups

Report: Gilt Puts Jetsetter Up for Sale at Around $50 Million [UPDATED]

Mr. Ryan (Photo: Invoke Media)

After a tumultuous spring that led to staffer mutiny and the ouster of CEO Drew Patterson, Gilt Groupe has decided to put its travel site up for sale, according to sources who talked to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal reports that the company has been shopping around Jetsetter for the past few weeks with an asking price around $50 million, but so far no interested bidders have taken the bait. Read More

Shakeups

Hungover After an Expansion Bender, Lot18 Pulls Out of the U.K., Lays Off Six

Mr. James (Photo: Lot 18)

Yesterday, Lot18–the members-only site for flash sales of wine–announced in a statement distributed to wine industry publications that it will permanently shutter its U.K. operations, effective at the end of the week. That includes laying off six full-time employees.

Apparently, British oenophiles are hard customers to come by these days.

The statement explains the closing: “The supermarkets’ stranglehold on the UK market proved too powerful for us to compete with and we have not experienced the anticipated growth rate.”

For those keeping score at home, this is not the first time Lot18 has dropped the axe on a significant number of employees. Back in January, the luxe startup let go of 15 percent of its staff–its first stumble following an explosive expansion. At the time, Lot18 CEO Philip James told Betabeat, “A lot of this is a natural part of the way a business grows and evolves.” Think he’s currently eating–or perhaps swigging–his words? Read More

Shakeups

Deep-Pocketed Wine Site Lot18 Cuts 11 Employees, Scales Back After Heady Expansion

Mr. James. (Photo: Crunchbase)

New York-based Lot18 may have gotten ahead of itself there for a bit. The members-only flash sales site for wine, which raised a total of $44.5 million from investors, is down to 70 employees after a reorganization that was finalized internally today. The company is cutting 11 employees and eliminating the food and travel verticals that were launched in June and October, respectively.

While customers buying wine were also often interested in cheese and chocolate, Lot18 realized that the verticals didn’t overlap much on the back end, and “just the distraction involved in building five things at once,” was taxing for the company, founder and president Philip James told Betabeat.

“A startup has limited resources. We almost raised $50 million, but reinventing a multi-billion dollar industry and hopefully having an impact on the industry for the next 50 or 100 years takes a lot of focus,” he said. “The business lines that we are shutting down in themselves are probably really good businesses. But as a startup, it’s better to do one thing well, be a laser, do one thing better than anybody else.”

He added, “One of the perils of having a lot of money is, it’s easy to launch a lot of things.” Read More

Shakeups

Kevin Ryan Asks Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson to Step Down After ‘Mutiny’ From Staffers

Mr. Patterson via @jetsetdrew

Gilt Groupe founder Kevin Ryan and chairman Susan Lyne spent Monday at the offices of Jetsetter, a deals site for luxury travel that operates independently under the Gilt Groupe umbrella. When the day was done, the Jetsetter board, where Mr. Ryan serves as chairman, approved a bold decision in response to an exodus of six senior executives and pervasive frustration among Jetsetter’s nearly 90 employees. “More than half of us are looking to leave within the next month, at which point the business won’t be operational,” a Jetsetter employee told Betabeat last week, recounting “mutiny” among staffers.

“Drew [Patterson, the company’s CEO and cofounder] is going to step down effective immediately,” Mr. Ryan told Betabeat by phone this morning. In his stead, Mr. Ryan named Rob Deeming, Gilt Groupe’s director of strategy and operations, and Mr. Ryan’s former “chief of staff,” as acting general manager of Jetsetter. Mr. Deeming had been in charge of Jetsetter’s UK office, which was launched last September.

Mr. Ryan said the change at the top was motivated by turnover and morale. “Too many people have left. When you’re the CEO, you’re responsible for that. We’ve had a lot of communication over the last six months on this issue. At a certain point, for myself, you make a change.”

Interviews with staffers, who spoke under condition of anonymity last week, painted the picture of a company hampered by Mr. Patterson’s and CTO Colin Kroll’s unwillingness to listen to and implement other people’s ideas–at the expense of employees eager to grow the brand. The initiatives that the duo had put forward, such as a UK office, had flopped, sources said. “They talk to themselves and they think they’re smarter than everybody, but they don’t know how their customer works,” said another Jetsetter staffer, referring to Mr. Patterson and Mr. Kroll. “We have great members, we want to keep them happy.” Read More

Shakeups

Tumblr President John Maloney Dips Out: ‘Thanks Everyone’

(tumblr.com)

Local blogging platform Tumblr has raised a staggering $125 million in venture capital. Tumblr is now hosting more than 53 million blogs with images, video and a complex system of duplication via reblogs, all for free, so the company needs the cash. “In about six months, the word ‘Tumblr’ will eclipse ‘blog’ in Google popularity,” wrote the web comic artist and statistician Randall Munroe of XKCD.

Welcome to the big leagues. And at its size, Tumblr’s investors are keeping a closer eye on the goings-on at the wildly unprofitable startup. After years of leaving Tumblr’s magical fairyland largely to its own devices, two recent major changes suggest the company may be feeling pressure from investors (and its burn rate).

John Maloney previously ran the forum for Upper East Side moms UrbanBaby, where he employed David Karp. Four years ago, Mr. Karp then hired Mr. Maloney to serve as president and resident adult of Tumblr. Last week—late on a Friday, naturally—Mr. Maloney announced he is stepping down from the company. Read More