Glide, the Jerusalem-based video-messaging startup once reportedly valued at $100 million, recently laid off 25% of its staff as it looks to focus on smartwatches.
The company launched the Glide app in 2013. It allows users to quickly send short video messages to friends, in a similar fashion to the way text messages work.
The free app has been downloaded “tens of millions” of times, resulting in “billions of messages” being sent since its debut, the company claims.
Glide has attracted around $36.5 million in funding to date, which includes a recent $8 million round of “bridge financing,” which was structured as convertible debt, the company’s CEO Ari Roisman confirmed to Business Insider.
The investment came from a “syndicate of new strategic investors” plus participation from all of the company’s Series B investors, which comprised Menlo Ventures, Marker LLC, and Two Sigma Ventures.
Roisman also confirmed the company had recently laid of 25% of its workforce as it pivots to focus on “the emerging smartwatch ecosystem.”
Roles eliminated were those that did not directly support its new focus, Roisman said. The company now has 55 staff worldwide.
Roisman told Business Insider:
As we increase focus and investment on the emerging smartwatch ecosystem and seek to keep operations lean, we decided to part ways with some friends and colleagues who did not entirely align with our strategy moving forward. We will continue to develop our visual messaging app and support our millions of users, yet we’re also hard at work on an exciting new project for smartwatches that we plan to unveil later this summer.
Glide launched its app on Android Wear in February this year and last year expanded its Palo Alto office to support its increased focus on smartwatches.
As part of the expansion, in June last year, Glide hired Shawn Grening, who was an early technical program manager on the Apple Watch team.
Pivoting the company to primarily work on smartwatches is a bold move.
In August last year, Tech Insider reported enthusiasm towards the wearables category was declining toward the “trough of disillusionment,” according to Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle report on emerging technologies.
However, despite some of the early hype around the devices dying down, smartwatch sales continue to rise. Strategy Analytics estimates that in Q1 2016, there were 4.2 million global smartwatch shipments, up from 1.3 million in Q1 2015.
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