Mic, the youth-focused news outlet that was among the most recognizable digital media startups fueled by venture capital and Facebook traffic, laid off most of its staff on Thursday and reached an agreement to be acquired by another digital media company, according to a company spokesperson.
Bustle Digital Group, a media company that operates a handful of websites including Elite Daily, will acquire Mic, according to the spokesperson, who declined to share financial details of the deal.
The layoffs, first reported by the tech news outlet Recode, add to a particularly brutal stretch for media startups that had once been viewed as the future of news.
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Started in 2011 as PolicyMic, the company was founded by Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz and raised about $60 million in venture funding. It soon established itself as a millennial-focused news organization that found success with social media-friendly articles and bite-sized videos.
But after Facebook tweaked the algorithm that decides what shows up in its News Feed, Mic and other digital publishers struggled to find a viable business.
Many Mic employees announced their departures on Twitter.
"It's been an up and down 2 years and 364 days," tweeted Erin Evans, who had been editorial director of culture at Mic.
"I'm no longer working at Mic," tweeted Serena Daniari, who had been a correspondent and columnist for Mic. "I'm very proud of the work I've done on both the written and video fronts amplifying underrepresented voices."
"Surprise: I no longer work at Mic!" tweeted Xavier Harding, who had been a tech and culture report for Mic. "Here’s my resume."
"A gutting experience," tweeted Kerry Lauerman, who had been executive news director at Mic. "But only love for the extremely resilient and open-hearted team of Mic editors, producers, writers and shooter I had the great honor of working with. They performed brilliantly often under a cloud of uncertainty."