b5media loses a Founder

Over the past year Techvibes has kept a close eye on Toronto’s b5media. Whether it be a behind the scenes look at their office space or comparing our revenue numbers to their metrics, we kept tabs on them because they’ve been successful in growing their blog network and raising venture capital along the way.

On Friday it became evident that the economic hard times are hitting the Startup Index superstar (#2 in Toronto) just like everybody else. An internal memo was leaked and published on The Inquisitor that explained their recent staffing cuts and one in particular – Co-founder Shai Coggins.

Sadly, during this process, several of b5media’s full-time team members were let go. Each of these, including Joey DeVilla, Darren O’Donoghue and Tony Tramontana, were significant parts of b5media and added very real value – however when faced with a choice between working with these amazing people and ensuring the company and community survived we were forced, given the current climate, to let these people go. It goes without saying that we did everything we could to ensure each individual was treated more than fairly.

In addition, however, budgetary restrictions around the Content team forced one further cut, and it is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do: ending Shai’s employment relationship with b5media.

As you undoubtedly know Shai came on as a “founder”, after her AboutWeblogs network agreed to merge with b5media just weeks after we’d launched. And ever since she has been a vibrant and heartening part of the b5media management, staff and community. The decision obviously does not reflect poorly on Shai, as she is one of the warmest, hardest working people I have ever had the honour of working with.

Shai Coggins’ Goodbye, b5media post is worth a read to hear the other side of the story.

Cuts like this are tough for staff to understand but b5media’s CEO Jeremy Wright is focused on getting to profitability and  trimming costs is the first step.