Online media co Zango closes Israel development center

All 50 employees at the Tel Aviv R&D center have been fired.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that online media company Zango Inc. has closed its R&D center in Tel Aviv and fired all 50 employees. In June, the company laid off 75 employees, including 20 in Israel because of a drastic slide in the number of users and revenue, which forced the company to revamp its business plan.

Zango was founded in June 2006 through the merger of Israel's Hotbar Ltd. with 180Solutions Inc. of the US at a company value of $52 million for Hotbar. At the time, Hotbar founder and CEO Oren Dobronsky voiced optimism, saying that the merger would "meet demand from both customers and advertisers using the new tools that Zango offers."

The merger enabled the merging of Hotbar's advertisement-supporting toolbar with 180Solutions' pop-up advertisements solution. Zango provided consumers free access to a large catalog of free, sought-after online videos, games, music, tools and utilities. The content was funded by advertising making it free to consumers. Zango was sharply criticized, especially over its privacy policy. It recently announced that it was changing its focus to online games.

Following the closure of the Tel Aviv R&D center, Zango will have five offices in three countries.

Dobronsky co-founded Hotbar in 1999. It raised $20 million until the merger from Eurofund LP, Technorov Holdings Ltd., CE Unterberg Towbin, Tamar Technology Partners LP, and ABS Ventures.

Zango declined to comment on the report.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 15, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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