Los Angeles Business Journal

Viddy Pink Slips One-Third of Staff

By Tom Dotan Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You could forgive Viddy if the Venice startup wished 2012 had never ended.

Back then, the company was riding a wave of publicity and money for its short-form video sharing app. In May it raised a massive $30 million Series B venture capital round led by some headlining names, such as Twitter founder Biz Stone and singer Shakira. With tens of millions of users, including Justin Bieber and Bill Cosby, Viddy was being called the Instagram of video – no small deal at a time when Instagram was fresh-off a $1 billion acquisition by Facebook.

But 2013 must feel like the resultant hangover for Viddy.

On Monday, the company announced it was laying off more than a dozen employees, a little more than a third of its total workforce. It said in a release that the layoffs were part of a strategy to “streamline costs” but maintained that it still had “strong balance sheet.” Viddy executives did not respond to The Business Journal’s request for further comment.

The cuts come on the heels of the departure in early February of Chief Executive Brett O’Brien, who will continue to serve on its board. There were persistent rumors at the time that O’Brien had turned down an acquisition offer by Twitter, though executives would continue to deny that. Twitter may have indirectly led to Viddy’s recent troubles, however, with its released of Vine, a similar video sharing app for taking and sharing short videos.

There may be one bright spot for Viddy in the remaining months of a so-far miserable 2013: Bieber, whose account had been dormant since September, posted a new video last week.