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Mochila Looking For Buyers, Cuts Most Of Its Staff

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Nearly a year after content syndicator Mochila raised several million dollars in a fifth funding round, the company appears to be winding down, as it has laid off roughly 20 of the company’s remaining staffers. All that remain are a number of part-time engineers, who are keeping the company going as CEO Benjamin Chen is trying to round up buyers for a possible sale of Mochila, paidContent has learned for several sources. Chen has not yet responded to an e-mail seeking comment.

The problems at Mochila come after the company has spent the last year trying to broaden and evolve its revenue model, which was essentially predicated on connecting online news sites with publishers. Back in February, the company brought in MediaLink LLC to help guide its strategy and named the company’s founder and CEO Michael Kassan to its advisory board. Kassan and Mochila separated a few months ago, however.

This past summer, publishing vet Carolyn Bekkedahl left the company to become social shopping site network Gilt City’s chief revenue officer, which was the same role she had at Mochila. Bekkedahl was replaced by ad sales head Steve McEvoy, who is no longer with the company.

It’s not clear what sort of buyer would be a fit for Mochila, but it does have a stellar list of board members with connections across the media industry. For example, Reuters (NYSE: TRI) GM for consumer media Keith McAllister, who was replaced as CEO by Chen two years ago, is apparently still on Mochila’s board. (Chen was previously chairman and CTO before taking over for McAllister.) Digital vet and News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) exec Jon Miller also joined Mochila’s board in 2009 and may still be involved as well.