Medium lays off 50 employees, shuts down New York and D.C. offices

It’s not the happiest new year at social publishing platform Medium, apparently.

According to a blog post from its CEO Ev Williams, also co-founder of Twitter, the well-funded startup is laying off 50 employees in non-engineering roles and shuttering its offices in New York and Washington, D.C.

Williams took the rosiest possible angle on changes happening at Medium, titling his announcement about the layoffs “Renewing Medium’s focus.” In the post, the CEO explained that the layoffs are happening as part of a broader plan to shift Medium’s business model.

Primarily, the company is trying to avoid repeating what other blogging platforms have done, encouraging publishers or authors to focus on reach and page views to generate advertising revenue, rather than encouraging them to focus on quality information and storytelling.

Medium’s competition includes social networks used by publishers and individual creatives to distribute their work, and other blogging platforms like the 800-lb. gorilla in this space, Automattic’s WordPress, as well as Facebook, and companies closer to Medium’s age, like Patreon, the blogging-meets-crowdfunding platform where creatives get paid directly by subscribers before publishing a news feature, web comic or anything else online.

Medium has raised $132 million in three outsized rounds of venture funding from firms including Spark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock, according to Crunchbase.

In his post, Williams said the platform had grown 300 percent year-over-year in terms of posts published and readers, from 2015 to 2016. He did not disclose revenue or other metrics.

Investors in and executives at Medium were not immediately available to comment.