Layoffs in Northern Twopointopia

Some young startups up north have downsized, John Cook of the Seattle PI reported this week. Layoffs aren’t peculiar on their own, but it seems that more than one company has let people go. It could mean — gasp! — it’s a trend.

Blue Dot, the social bookmarking startup that’s heavier on the social angle than others, told Cook it has cut its staff nearly in half, dropping four people. That company launched last summer on $1.5 million in angel funding.

Meanwhile, Vizrea, a digital media syncing and sharing service, is “significantly scaling back operations,” dropping half of its 16-person staff and expecting more cuts. It seems that it hasn’t been able to raise funding to compensate for its burn rate. Vizrea had also raised angel funding, $3 million.

Like most things in Seattle, both companies have Microsofties in their lineage. Some Venture Blog commenters suggest this could be the problem. Both companies also have quite a bit of competition in their respective categories.

But that theory won’t take you too far. In the same week, another ex-Microsoftie startup in a crowded market — social music service iLike (which we profiled at launch) — raised $13.3 million from IAC/Interactive’s Ticketmaster. Not to say money buys you everything, but that’s a big chunk coming from a good strategic partner.

So it seems we are reaching a time of reckoning. Let’s see how it all plays out in the new year.

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