$25 Million Mystery Startup Hits Layoffs Before It Even Launches

Fortune's Dan Primack reports that Clinkle, the stealth mobile startup company that raised $25 million in venture capital without really explaining what it does, has "issued pink slips to 16 of its 60-person staff, or just over 25%." The layoffs have not been in engineering, but rather the business side of operations.

According to Primack, Clinkle initially planned to mitigate the significant layoffs by announcing it within a press release about two high-profile new hires—Netflix and Walmart.com veteran Andrew Rendich and Allison Hopkins from Palo Alto Networks—brought on to help 22-year-old founder and very recent Stanford grad Lucas Duplan. However, Clinkle "didn't feel it had its ducks in a row yet" to pull off that sleight of hand.

Former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy, who joined Clinkle in October, told Fortune the layoffs were expected and shouldn't be taken as a sign of trouble:

"I knew coming in that I'd be spending the bulk of my time building the executive team, and that the team would build out its own groups," McCarthy says. "Some young people are leaving, and some very reasoned executives are joining. It's reasonable to assume that these execs wouldn't be joining if something was chronically wrong or broken."

Considering that Clinkle wasn't even able to keep its crisis management strategy under wraps, the assumption doesn't sound that reasonable.

Another sign that something was broken: Clinkle appears to have removed the section about lavish perks, including "runners to help with chores" and laser tag, which used to be featured prominently on its jobs page.

$25 Million Mystery Startup Hits Layoffs Before It Even Launches

[Image via Facebook/Lucas Duplan]