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Ad tech firm Verve has quietly cut staff in a ‘rightsizing’ that includes its sales VP

The cuts come after the return of Verve’s founder as its CEO.

Tom Kenney CEO Verve Wireless
Verve CEO Tom Kenney

Verve, an ad tech firm that has raised at least $64 million, has quietly laid off staff in recent weeks in a sign of the company’s struggles.

Less than 10 percent of the company was released, Verve confirmed to Recode, including its vice president of sales, Gian LaVecchia. A person familiar with the situation said other senior sales executives also departed.

LaVecchia did not respond to a request for comment. The company had around 250 employees as of a year ago, according to data from PitchBook.

“Verve’s leadership team recently made the difficult decision to release less than 10 percent of employees due to company rightsizing,” company rep Julie Bernard said. “We continue to stay focused on our team and keeping the business healthy and poised for continued long-term success.”

The New York-based company sells location-specific mobile advertisements and was valued at $110 million as of August 2014. Investors have included Nokia Growth Partners and BlueRun Ventures.

The cuts come after the return of Tom Kenney, who founded the company in 2005 and was named CEO last November. Kenney succeeded Nada Stirratt, who is now a vice president at Facebook.

Verve is not the first mobile ad tech company to run into trouble this summer: One of its competitors, GroundTruth — long known as xAd — recently ousted its CEO after a breach of company policy, triggering an “investigation” that the company has still declined to publicly explain.

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