It wasn’t even a month ago when we broke the news that beRecruited would be acquiring former Y Combinator startup Fanvibe. At the time, Fanvibe’s Vishwas Prabhakara, set to become the new CEO of beRecruited with the deal, said that Fanvibe would continue to operate with its roughly 100,000 users. What a difference a few weeks make.
Effective immediately, Fanvibe will cease operations, Prabhakara confirms. Why the sudden change of heart? The ongoing NFL and NBA lockouts have effectively destroyed the point of the service, Prabhakara says.
While the NFL lockout has been rumored to be ending for weeks now, it still continues on (once again, a deal is rumored to happen later this week — don’t hold your breath). Meanwhile, the NBA lockout shows no signs of ending, and it definitely could wipe out at least a part of the upcoming season. The threat of no games in the upcoming months was simply too much for beRecruited, so they made the call to pull the plug.
When I noted the constant rumors of the NFL lockout ending, Prabhakara says it has already taken too big of a toll. Apparently, a number of the NFL’s digital staffers were laid off or have left during the lockout. “They are now way behind on the digital stuff,” Prabhakara says, also noting that their main contact left to become the head of sports and entertainment marketing at JP Morgan Chase.
This turn of events serves as an interesting reminder that outside variables can quickly destroy a startup. Of course, Fanvibe was fortunate to sell itself in time (perhaps not coincidentally — but Prabhakara assures me this “wasn’t our plan”).
“We’re going to put our focus on the growth of beRecruited for the the near future, while leveraging some of the backend stuff we built for Fanvibe,” Prabakara says.
Update: Says the NFL:
We are not laying off people. In fact, NFL.com is hiring and getting prepared for the 2011 NFL season. Prabhakara’s comments about us that were from his contact that is no longer at the NFL.