Yuga Labs, the $4 billion startup behind popular NFT projects such as the Bored Ape Yacht Club, has announced a restructuring that has led to layoffs. In a team email shared publicly, CEO Daniel Alegre expressed his belief that the company had taken on too much internally and needed to refocus while collaborating with more external partners. Alegre did not disclose the number of employees affected by the layoffs, but the company still comprises over 120 employees according to co-founder Greg Solano. The restructuring primarily impacts United States-based employees, and the company is still evaluating its international teams.
Alegre acknowledged the successful projects Yuga Labs has launched this year, such as the Dookey Dash game, TwelveFold generative art pieces, and partnerships with BAPE and Gucci. However, he also mentioned that some product launches fell short and that the company needed to make progress with the development of Otherside, its upcoming metaverse game. Alegre emphasized that Yuga Labs should not build and manage everything in-house and should instead focus on its core competencies.
To further strengthen its Otherside strategy, Yuga Labs recently announced a strategic investment in spatial computing startup Hadean. Alegre stated that all ongoing digital content from the company would tie into the Otherside metaverse platform. He also mentioned that the teams working on the NFT avatar project Meebits and the 10KTF digital apparel project would be folded into Otherside. Alegre acknowledged that the company hasn’t been building in public with Otherside as much as planned, but assured that further updates on the metaverse platform would be forthcoming.
Alegre addressed the challenging times faced by the industry and the global economy, highlighting the need for Yuga Labs to stay focused on its core strengths and continue creating unique and engaging experiences for its audience.
Yuga Labs gained immediate success with the launch of the Bored Ape Yacht Club in early 2021. However, as the demand for NFT collectibles has declined, prices for Bored Apes and other “blue chip” NFTs have also fallen sharply. Yuga Labs raised $450 million in March 2022 at a $4 billion valuation and acquired the CryptoPunks NFT IP from Larva Labs. The company experienced significant growth during the NFT hype but is now streamlining its operations to adapt to the evolving market and establish a sustainable model.