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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 1, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Layoffs at Bellevue game startup Smith & Tinker

Bellevue game startup Smith & Tinker is laying off about 30 percent of its employees barely a month after stores began selling a handheld player for “Nanovor,” its sci-fi trading card game aimed at preteen boys.

The company now employs about 40 people after laying off 10 to 15, according to Joe Lawandus, president and co-founder.

“Largely it was right-sizing the organization as we’ve gotten the game out,” he said, explaining that the company’s trying to “maintain as much of our cash as possible.”

The company is still hiring for a few different positions on its development team. It’s now working on improving the game, versions for the iPhone and iPod Touch and additional games on the platform, which blends online and offline play.

“We’re still full steam ahead,” he said.

The two-year-old company started initially by former Xbox creative director Jordan Weisman has $29 million in funding from Paul Allen and other investors.

A spokeswoman provided the following statement:

Smith & Tinker can confirm that unfortunately company layoffs were conducted this week. As many startups do, we staffed aggressively early on to meet deadlines for launching our product online and at retail this year. These layoffs are needed to bring our organization to a healthy operational size for the remainder of this year and 2010. Nanovor has been recognized by FunFare and Dr. Toy as a hot toy for 2009 and has seen strong consumer adoption to date; the company continues to receive solid support from our board. Employees leaving the company will receive severance packages.

Recently there’s been discounting of the Nanovor device. It was originally going to sell for $50 but it’s been available lately for $39.

The layoffs were initially reported by VentureBeat.

Comments | More in | Topics: Games & entertainment, Paul Allen, Startups

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