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Lloyd Braun’s media firm, Whalerock Industries, conducted a round of layoffs last month as part of a company-wide restructuring, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
In August, Whalerock president Jeff Berman left the company behind Kimoji and the Kylie Jenner app for a new job as an executive-in-residence at Greylock Partners. Following Berman’s departure, Whalerock overhauled its structure to ensure that it would be less siloed and operate more efficiently across its different divisions, freeing it up to invest in new businesses. As a part of the restructuring, sources say that less than 30 of the company’s 180 employees were laid off in early September.
Whalerock, which works with media partners such as Viacom and Sirius XM, is expected to continue to build out its digital business. Sources familiar with the company say that Whalerock plans to add around 25 new positions in the next six to nine months. The company website currently lists three openings, in the business operations and engineering divisions.
Three-year-old Whalerock, which Braun founded following his split from longtime BermanBraun partner Gail Berman, produces both film (I Am Pilgrim) and television (Nuts + Bolts) projects in addition to its digital business, which began as a network of websites but, in 2015, expanded into mobile with the launch of Tyler, the Creator’s Golf app. Soon after, Whalerock introduced a suite of Kardashian apps, one for each sister. The subscription-based apps immediately took off with fans of the sisters and their E! show, shooting to the top of Apple’s App Store in the early days after their launch.
Whalerock also has worked with Kim Kardashian on Kimoji, has an app with Zendaya and operates a web business that includes the blogs Wonderwall and Mom.me.
Over the last year and a half, Whalerock has sold some of the businesses that no longer fit into its new digital strategy, including movie-focused YouTube channel CineFix, which Mashable bought in spring 2016.
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