Clinkle, a payment app that raised $US30 million then failed to gain traction, lost a chunk of its staff Friday.
CEO Lucas Duplan confirmed that a bunch of employees left to TechCrunch’s Josh Constine. Duplan says the restructuring was planned, but at least one ex-Clinkler celebrated “quitting” on social media. Other Clinklers told Constine the employees voluntarily left because they were fed up with Duplan.
The source of contention, according to Constine, was acquisition talks. Also Duplan reportedly fired two senior executives, Clinkle’s CFO and VP of Engineering, which didn’t sit well with the team.
Constine says Duplan was in acquisition talks with Apple then tried to shop his startup around to other suitors, including Google, Visa, Amazon and Samsung to up the price. When executives tried to learn about the talks, Constine says they were canned.
It’s not clear where Apple and Clinkle stand now.
“With respect to [M&A], I can’t confirm or deny that any conversations have taken place or are taking place,” Duplan said in a statement. “Secondly, today we indeed did have a planned staff restructuring, and that’s actually part of a greater reorganization and cost abatement plan which we’ve been looking at doing for a while now.”
Clinkle has been one disaster after another. A few years ago Duplan, who was then 20, announced his startup had raised the “largest seed round in Silicon Valley history.” But his team didn’t launch a product or reveal what it was working on for more than a year following the fundraise. It’s since tried to pivot its way to success but the company has suffered a lot of layoff rounds in the process.
Here’s the celebratory Facebook post from ex-Clinkler, Jason Benn. “QUIT CLINKLE TODAY!” He exclaimed.