Late last week college social media app Yik Yak announced layoffs of over 60% of its workforce, bringing the company down to just 20 employees. The anonymous messaging location-based app was an instant hit with college students when it launched in 2013.
Founders Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll raised nearly $73 million in funding (closing the most recent round in 2014). One year after its launch, Yik Yak was valued between $300m and $400m, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In light of challenges encountered on college campuses, such as bullying, Yik Yak began to make significant changes. Earlier this year, the team made major structural changes to the app by adding handles and replies to the feed. “They add a lot more context to the feed,” Buffington told Hypepotamus in March. However, the changes were reverted in November.
Despite the layoffs, employees have expressed gratitude to the executives and the whole herd, as Yik Yak employees called themselves.
On LinkedIn, Sean Maher, former Product Marketing Manager, says:
It was a pleasure and an honor to work with some of the greatest people I have ever met in my professional career. I will cherish all the memories and friendships I have made over the past 2.5 years. It’s a special feeling to be a part of something from the beginning and see it all the way through to the very end. Time to start the next chapter of this beautiful thing we call life.
— adelaide taylor (@adelaideyogi) December 9, 2016
We’re still waiting to hear what’s in store for the social media app and its remaining staff. Droll remained hopeful in an email to Hypepotamus about the layoffs.
“We recently made some strategic changes at Yik Yak in line with our key areas of focus for the company,” said Droll. “Unfortunately, as part of that we had to make the difficult decision to lay off a portion of the team. We are incredibly appreciative of their contributions toward making Yik Yak the special place for college students around the world that it is today.”