Ning Cutting 40% of Staff and Ceasing Free Social Networks
The social network platform company founded by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini has announced some major changes. The first change is that they are stopping free social networks from being created. Existing free networks will be forced to pay going forward.
Ning has raised a total of $120 million and received a valuation of $750 million as of last summer.
The second major change is that the company is reducing their staff by 40%. Below is the full email sent from Ning CEO Jason Rosenthal.
@amitchowdhry or on Google+ at +AmitChowdhry
When I became CEO 30 days ago, I told you I would take a hard look at our business. This process has brought real clarity to what’s working, what’s not, and what we need to do now to make Ning a big success.
My main conclusion is that we need to double down on our premium services business. Our Premium Ning Networks like Friends or Enemies, Linkin Park, Shred or Die, Pickens Plan, and tens of thousands of others both drive 75% of our monthly US traffic, and those Network Creators need and will pay for many more services and features from us.
So, we are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning. We will judge ourselves by our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale. And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy.
As a consequence of this change, I have also made the very tough decision to reduce the size of our team from 167 people to 98 people. As hard as this is to do, I am confident that this is the right decision for our company, our business, and our customers. Marc and I will work diligently with everyone affected by this to help them find great opportunities at other companies.
I’ve never seen a more talented and devoted team, and it has been my privilege to get to know and work with each and every one of you over the last 18 months.
We’ll use today to say goodbye to our friends and teammates who will be leaving the company. Tomorrow, I will take you through, in detail, our plans for the next three months and our new focus.