Startups are dying all over the place as last year’s investment cool-off leads many to run out of cash. But Whisper refuses to race into the graveyard like fellow anonymous social apps Secret and Yik Yak. A source told TechCrunch that Whisper experienced layoffs this week, and after requesting comment, the startup now confirms to us it’s let go of 20 percent of staff so it can become sustainable for the long run.
“We have been very focused on getting the company cash-flow positive,” Whisper CEO Michael Hayward tells TechCrunch. To that end, 14 of Whisper’s 71 employees are being laid off, with a concentration in its editorial team that needs less staff now that machine learning can help repackage Whisper’s user content for distribution by other media outlets.
Whisper’s COO Jaime Mendez is also leaving the company in a mutual decision after he was promoted from head of product to the arduous operating officer role last year. He was formerly the GM of Zynga’s popular FarmVille 2 game.
Hayward tells me Whisper now has 20 million monthly active users across its app and site, giving it a modest base to monetize through a larger focus on programmatic ads, wh...