Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lytro Lays Off, Keeps Being Optimistic about the Future

SFGate, SiliconBeat: Lytro laid off an undisclosed number of employees in late February, company spokeswoman Alexandra Cuccias said. She declined to give the specific number of employees laid off or to say why they were let go, saying only that the company now has about 85 employees. She also declined to say how many cameras Lytro has sold.

Jason Rosenthal, the company CEO, declined to discuss financials in detail, but said the company is 20% ahead of its internal projections so far this year. He also stressed they have ample runway from their last venture capital round in 2011. "We have a packed product roadmap for next year, we’ll introduce multiple what I think are just breakthrough products. I’m super excited and the world will be as well," said Rosenthal. The long-term vision is to become "the new software and hardware stack for everything with a lens and sensor. That’s still cameras, video cameras, medical and industrial imaging, smartphones, the entire imaging ecosystem."

Margit Wennmachers, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, Lytro investor, said that at least one new device would include features that professional photographers are looking for. Wennmachers also said that sales to date have actually exceeded their internal projections: "Our expectation wasn’t as high as people on the outside had," she said. "Analysts and everyone else have to understand the full and complete vision, and you don’t really share that when you’re shipping Version 1.0. It’s one of those swing for the fences ideas. If it works it’s a monster success and you can build something really meaningful."

3 comments:

  1. It seems a little odd to be ahead of internal projections and doing a layoff simultaneously but perhaps they outsourced something.

    Hopefully they will get closer to a sweet spot in the market with improved features in the next products. Still, I think they are still unable to say that all those camera companies that passed on licensing several years ago were wrong about the market potential of this technically-interesting technology.

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  2. They could have been ahead in the spending part of their projections rather than the income part. ;-)

    Late February was a month before they got a new CEO, so the RIF could have been a desperate attempt at getting costs down just before the board replaced the former one or the board could have pushed for it before the new guy started so as not to have him be the hatchet man as his first task. Still, 85 people gives them a very high burn rate for a company that is now two years into $50M in funding and that needs to build and sell hardware to be successful.

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  3. Still waiting for them to come up with a compelling use for light field sensors in consumer cameras. Until they do, they're limited to the much smaller market for what photographers see as a gimmick product, a toy.

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