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A Spot Of Trouble At Spot Runner

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There is no escape from the advertising recession. Not even for hotshot TV advertising startup Spot Runner. Despite having raised more than $100 million, half of that as recently as last May, the LA-based company may be in for a major round of layoffs next week following the election (and the associated last-minute media blitz).

As many as 25 percent of its more than 300 employees may find themselves without a job come next Thursday. While the exact number has not yet been determined, I have been able to confirm that the company is currently going through a cost-reduction planning process and is looking at all options in light of the deteriorating advertising environment.

Any job cuts would be on top of an earlier round of layoffs last August, which resulted in 50 people losing their employment. Another 50 or so subsequently left on their own account. According to one former employee who quit, morale is low and a sense of disillusionment permeates the company, at least among the engineers. That’s not a good thing for a tech company. This engineer describes Spot Runner as being more of a tech facade for a regular ad agency.

Spot Runner ramped up employees too fast in a rush to grab market share before Google gets truly serious about the same Web-mediated TV advertising opportunity. Now, it has to worry more about making its cash last and getting to profitability. The number of expected cuts among employees is another 50 to 75. But, again, our understanding is that the exact number has not yet been finalized. When and if job cuts occur, we will add them to our Layoff Tracker.

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