Startup camera maker Lytro cut jobs earlier this year

Lytro, the digital camera start-up that has developed a technology that allows users to focus their pictures after taking them, laid off some of its staff earlier this year.

The Mountain View company cut loose an undisclosed number of employees in late February, company spokeswoman Alexandra Cuccias said. The “small” number of employees worked in areas including operations and shipping, company CEO Jason Rosenthal told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cuccias declined to give the specific number of employees laid off or to say why they were let go, saying only that the company now has about 85 employees. She also declined to say how many cameras Lytro has sold.

“We are happy with how things going,” Cuccias said.

Before debuting its “light field” camera two years ago, Lytro raised $50 million from¬†Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, NEA, K9 Ventures and individual investors. Cuccias declined to say whether the company has raised any additional funds.

Lytro has been in a bit of flux lately. In addition to the layoffs, the company saw an executive shakeup over the last year. In April, Rosenthal replaced interim CEO Charles Chi. Chi had replaced Lytro founder Ren Ng as CEO in June 2012 when the latter stepped aside to become the company’s executive chairman.

Lytro’s camera includes an array of lenses that splits the incoming light before it hits the image sensor. Through on-board software, the camera is able to track the direction of the light and use that information to change the focal point of a digital picture after the fact. Viewers can choose to have the picture focus on something in the foreground or something in the background or have the entire image in focus.

The camera, which starts at $400, is now offered in some 44  Best Buy stores around the country. The company is hoping to release a new camera model next year, Cuccias said. In the meantime, it continues to add features to existing cameras through software updates, she said.


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  • Bob McKay

    The Lytro cameras are now just under $300 on Amazon. On the Lytro website they are seeking about 20 new tech employees. Can Lytro break out from being a niche product?