Instagram competitor and visual arts technology company VSCO has closed up shop in New York and laid off all staff, TechCrunch has learned and the company confirmed. The decision was made in order to centralize staff at the company’s Oakland location, its main headquarters. VSCO also has an office in Denver, Co., which was added when it acquired the Denver-based printing shop, Artifact Uprising.
Its website currently lists job openings for both its Denver and Oakland locations.
Some New York staff were offered opportunities to relocate, we’re told, but it’s unclear how many will be making the move. VSCO has not said how many staff were working in New York at the time of closure or what percentage of the workforce the layoffs represent. But the company has more than 100 employees according to Crunchbase and LinkedIn; more than 80 are based in Oakland, LinkedIn says.
VSCO opened its New York office last year, with the goal of offering both a workspace for VSCO staff as well as an open studio for collaborators from the VSCO Community to do photoshoots. The plans to expand to New York, however, were announced back in 2014, following the company’s $40 million Series A — the company had said it wanted to double its then 43-person team.
The company says it will expand its Open Studio, previously only in NYC, to Oakland’s HQ.
A spokesperson confirmed the changes to TechCrunch, saying:
In an effort to align operations with our evolving business needs, we are centralizing and expanding our team in Oakland at VSCO’s HQ, and have closed our New York office in the process….
We’re focused on building the best tools and platform for our community members to express themselves, and we’re working alongside some incredible brands to help them connect with VSCO’s creator network.
The move follows last summer’s launch of redesigned VSCO mobile applications — something that VSCO did in an effort to further differentiate its more professional photo-editing app from the category leader, Instagram. The changes focused on improvements to existing features, like a new camera interface, gesture-based navigation and a redesigned space for images and journal posts, among other things.
But the community’s response to the update was not favorable. Many within the VSCO community were angry about the changes, and numerous reviews thoroughly panned the update. The app has recovered somewhat from its initial App Store rating decline, however, thanks to an update released in November to address user complaints. It now sports a decent — but not stellar — 3.5-star rating on iTunes.
The mobile app is not VSCO’s only business, but its newer DSCO app has not really taken off (it’s No. 289 in the Photo & Video category on iTunes), and there are only so many VSCO film emulation tools you can sell, given that pro-level photography is, by design, not something that has mass market appeal.
Updated 1/11/17, 8 PM ET with clarifications regarding Open Studio changes.