News & Politics

LivingSocial Cuts Another 400 Employees, Including 100 in DC

More bad news for the former darling of DC's tech industry.

Photograph by Flickr user Danny Lee.

LivingSocial, the DC-based online coupon company, is a bit closer to shuffling off that corporate mortal coil after another round of layoffs today that will see the company trim its payroll by 20 percent. The move will affect about 400 employees, the company says in a press release, about 100 of whom work in the District.

The latest LivingSocial purge is part of a “corporate reorganization” announced by chief executive officer Guatam Thakar, who took over the struggling company in August after the departure of founder (and Graham family in-law) Tim O’Shaughnessy. Aside from the local employees losing their jobs today, the reorganization also appears to significantly affect LivingSocial’s West Coast operations, with the shuttering of a 93-person office in Torrance, California.

The actions today will create a more streamlined and efficient sales model that will enable the business to fund areas of growth—namely technology, data science and mobile,” Thakar says in the press release.

LivingSocial shifted away from the moribund “daily deals” business in October 2013 to focus on selling open-ended discounts on local goods and services. Its miseries continued in January when it closed its Penn Quarter showroom after a year in which it lost $183 million. The company’s balance sheet looks a bit more optimistic this year, according to financial disclosures by Amazon, which owns a 31 percent stake. LivingSocial showed a net yearly income of $131 million through September 30.

Thakar’s statement does not specify what LivingSocial’s latest reboot will look like, other than that it will be a “multi-year journey to build a sustainable business.”

This latest round of layoffs brings its total workforce down to 1,600 and 400 in DC. Once the darling of DC’s tech industry and city officials, LivingSocial will be on deadline in 2015 to make good on the obligations it agreed to in 2012 when it signed a $33 million tax rebate deal with Mayor Vince Gray. Considering the deal requires the company to have 2,000 local employees (with half being DC residents), build a 200,000-square-foot headquarters, and maintain profitablity by the end of the current fiscal year, it seems highly likely DC taxpayers will get to keep their money.

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.