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Jobless in Seattle?

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Jobster, a Seattle-based job-focused vertical search engine, is mulling a big round of layoffs and may cut up to half of its 145-strong workforce, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Well known for having raised gobs of venture capital, about $48 million from the likes of Ignition Partners, The Mayfield Fund and Trinity Ventures, Jobster would be the third Seattle-area startup to realign its workforce. Last week it was reported that both Blue Dot and Vizrea went through a round of layoffs.

Some close to Jobster describe the situation as “fluid.” The company spokesperson officially told us that the company is seeking profitability in 2007. So far, nothing has been finalized, and the company is currently in the process of weighing its options and finalizing its plans for 2007. The company will have further details on Jan. 2, 2007, the spokesperson said.

The Jobster spokesperson was quick to point out that Jobster’s revenues doubled in 2006, and were up 30% in the fourth quarter of 2006 from the third quarter of 2006. In a previous interview with Katie earlier this summer, CEO and founder Jason Goldberg told us that the company’s annual revenues were well north of $20 million, and that the company would be profitable in 2007. But the company declined to reveal its most recent revenue numbers.

Though it is often lumped in with other job-related vertical search engines like Simply Hired and Indeed, Jobster’s main source of revenues is selling “web-based tools to manage finding workers, which cost between $1,000 to $9,000 per month, depending on the companies’ size.” From that perspective, its direct competitor would be someone like TheLadders. (Disclosure: The Ladders is a GigaOM advertiser.)

While we were out gathering the details on this development, John Cook beat us to the punch, and posted a quick alert on his blog. [Tip of the hat, Mr. Cook.] Cook reports that CFO Ron Stevens left the company and has been replaced by David Eckert.

A couple of days ago, CEO Goldberg posted on his blog that nothing was happening at Jobster. Hopefully the new year will bring a bit more clarity to what sounds like something more than silence.

15 Responses to “Jobless in Seattle?”

  1. Jobster model was flawed from the beginning. It was all hype to begin with. Here is why. You cannot add Social Networking elements with HR. HR do not want to see pictures. They will get sued like crazy for discrimination. That is why not a lot of companies will acquire talent from Jobster. Sorry to be skeptical but I give Jobster 6 months to fold.

    I just can’t believe how experienced VC’s didn’t see this.

  2. Darren Stuart

    I agree with #1 jj on this. why do they need that many people working for them?

    maybe they should be 37s Getting Real book.

    Do they VC’s read the businesses plans for these companies or do these business plans even include staff numbers.

    I feel sorry for the people getting laid off.

  3. Their original bold goal, to connect job seekers directly with hiring managers, seems to have been abandoned. Too bad, because the talent recruitment process at most large companies is still very inefficient, and ripe for substantive innovation.