Digital Publisher Inkling Lays Off Consumer Staff To Focus On Enterprise Business

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Inkling is shutting down its consumer business and laid off part of its workforce yesterday. We first heard the news from a source who said the layoffs represented 25 percent of the company’s workforce. CEO Matt MacInnis confirmed the cuts, but he said the number we’d received was a little high.

Founded in 2009, Inkling is best known as a publishing platform for iPad digital textbooks. MacInnis said the company ended up with two parts to its business, with an enterprise side (selling its technology to publishers and to large companies who want to create content for employee education and reference) and a consumer side (selling digital books). The enterprise side continues to do well, and will continue hiring, he said.

For example, Inkling announced a partnership with healthcare company Wolters Kluwer today, and there’s supposedly another announcement coming tomorrow.

The decision to eliminate the consumer business was about “focusing our team,” MacInnis added.

“Yesterday’s change primarily affected people who were in jobs that supported our consumer retail business,” he told me via email. “It was a very difficult decision for me personally, because even though they were in roles we no longer needed, they were all fantastic colleagues.”

The company has also been expanding to non-textbook content, as signaled by its acquisition last fall of the Betterbook and Ready, Set, Baby! brands from Open Air Publishing. And it recently launched its first native Android app.

The company has raised a total of $48 million in funding, with a $16 million Series C led by Sequoia Capital announced last summer.