Verizon-Backed Jana Lays Off 19% of Staff

Jana, a mobile advertising startup focused on providing internet access to people in developing countries, laid off 13 employees this week, as the company planned to shut down what had been its flagship product.

The cuts, confirmed by CEO Nathan Eagle, underline Jana’s ups and downs, as it fired sales and marketing employees that had worked on an app store that incentivized people to download third-party apps such as Amazon and Twitter that advertised their services in Jana’s app store. The app store—which got the company about $30 million in revenue in 2015 before sputtering last year—is shutting down so the company can focus on an ad-supported mobile browser that the company is testing in India to give people some free access to the internet.

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Mr. Eagle spoke about the browser in an interview last month with The Information. He said in a phone interview on Wednesday that he doesn’t see the layoffs as “necessarily a bad thing. ...It doesn’t make sense to have a big sales team until we have a big audience on the browser.”

Hendrik Laubscher commented on this article.
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