“As a result of our decision to wind down certain initiatives, we’ll be saying goodbye to some of our talented colleagues who have made valuable contributions to our success,” Bankoff wrote.
The hardest-hit brands under the Vox umbrella are Racked, Curbed, SB Nation and the Video Services teams, although there are some changes elsewhere in the company, which includes Recode, Vox News and The Verge. Additionally, around a dozen staffers have been offered role changes. Vox Media has taken investment from NBC Universal, General Atlantic, Accel Partners and Khosla Ventures. In 2015, the company raised $200 million in a funding round led by NBC Universal.
In Wednesday’s memo, Bankoff cited industry changes and budgeting as reasons for the layoffs.
“I want to be clear that the initiatives that we are winding down, primarily around native social video, were growing successfully and surpassing their audience growth goals, a testament to the talent and hard work of the teams,” he wrote. “However, it has become clear, due to industry changes over the past few months and our long-term budgeting process, that those initiatives won’t be viable audience or revenue growth drivers for us relative to other investments we are making. Building a company requires us to take calculated risks. I take responsibility for bets that don’t work out. However, I’ll also proudly say that thanks to your efforts, no new media company of our era has made as many successful bets as we have. We’ve been ambitious and smart in our risk-taking (and we’ll continue to be) which is why we’re in such a relatively strong position in this rapidly evolving industry.”
Although fashion-focused site Racked has been hit especially hard, it is not folding — contrary to rumors floating around on Wednesday morning.
“The Racked brand is not folding. We are cutting Racked’s native social video and shopping programs, but will continue to support the rest of their incredible journalism and talented team of reporters,” Vox Media said in a statement.
“Thank you for all your kind words about @Racked. The brand is not folding, though today’s obviously been brutal for our team. More TK, but thank you for your concern/kind words re: the dream team,” editor in chief Britt Aboutaleb wrote on Twitter.