Bitly, the link-shortening service born at Betaworks, has had a turbulent 2013. In March, CEO Peter Stern stepped down. In June, the company's chief data scientist and VP of engineering both left their full time gigs. And this week The Verge learned that Matt Lemay, head of consumer products, and Tim Devane, the director of sales and business development, have also headed for the door. Morale is low, say insiders.
But fresh leadership is on the way. "We're working hard to regain the momentum," says Sam Mandel, Betaworks' head of corporate development, who had taken over as the interim president of Bitly. "We've hired a new CEO who we will announce in a few weeks. Revenue from our existing products has been growing each month. And we still have one of the biggest and most in depth data sets on what's happening on the web, with nearly 2 billion unique users clicking Bitly links in the last month."
"Nearly 2 billion links clicked in the last month."
Bitly was once crowned the king of link shortening, but that business has been squeezed as social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Google introduced their own versions of the service. Last year Bitly raised $15 million and made a big bet on its consumer-facing products, expanding from just link shortening to curation and discovery.
The response to those new offerings was muted, however, and the way forward for Bitly appears to be fresh focus on its enterprise products for brands and publishers. The company has built analytical and data visualization tools that aim to help companies understand their audience and optimize what they publish.
"We are planning to roll out our first new paid product in three years, which should begin with beta partners this week," says Mandel. "Every company goes through transitional periods and some employees don't last, but we're confident the Bitly team is better than ever."