CEO Leaves Local News & Community Startup Backfence; Other Layoffs

Perhaps symptomatic of the difficulties in developing the local news, community and citizen journalism ventures as a business, especially a venture backed on: Backfence, the local news venture, has seen its co-fouder and CEO Susan DeFife leave, and about 12 of its 18 an unspecified number of employees have been let go, reports Peter (and which I confirmed). The company’s other co-founder Mark Potts, who actually left the company in November last year (though he was and is still on the board), has come back and has joined as interim head of the company.
Backfence has about 13 sites in three metro area (DC, Chicago and Bay Area). The company got $3 million in venture funding in 2005, from SAS Investors and Omidyar Network, among others.
DeFife told Peter: “Ultimately, we did not share the same strategic vision for the company as the Board of Directors”. Potts told me the company will now regroup, and relaunch with all the Web 2.0 features and focus on getting back on track on sales and community development efforts.
Update: DeFife e-mailed in and said that she along with Amanda Graham, VP Sales and Bob Kelly, VP Community, have left and formed a consultancy in the local media and community sector.
Related: Launches, Latest Hyperlocal Public Media Effort
Local News Venture Backfence Gets $3 Million Funding
Backfence Acquires Bayosphere