Boston startup Localytics, focused on analyzing app usage, sheds 15 percent of staff

Keytar Bear plays at a 2015 party at Localytics, an app marketing and analytics startup in Boston.
Keytar Bear plays at a 2015 party at Localytics, an app marketing and analytics startup in Boston.

Just three months ago, Boston-based Localytics was boasting that it had landed a new head of human resources and added 100 other employees over the course of 2015. That brought the company’s headcount to 250, according to a press release.

But on Thursday, the company was laying off employees — 15 percent of the overall staff, or about 37 people, according to CEO and co-founder Raj Aggarwal. Localytics offers its customers software that helps them understand how people use their mobile apps. Customers include ESPN, eBay, and Nordstrom. The company participated in the TechStars Boston accelerator program in 2009, and has since raised $60 million in venture capital funding. The most recent round, $35 million, came last March.

What happened? It sounds like the company’s hiring spree had outpaced revenue. According to Aggarwal: “Frankly, while we saw continued traction for our mobile engagement platform in 2015, our hiring outpaced overall growth. So we have made some cuts to be able to responsibly meet our goals for 2016. As you can imagine, it was a tough but necessary decision since we have so many great people at Localytics.”

Localytics competes with other mobile analytics companies, including Mixpanel and Flurry. Mixpanel, based in San Francisco, also laid off about 10 percent of its staff earlier this month, saying it had over-hired.

Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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