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Nanovor Creator Smith & Tinker Lays Off 30 Percent Of Staff

FASA founder Jordan Weisman's Smith & Tinker, the toy and online game company behind the multimedia Nanover franchise, laid off around 15 employees, or 30 percent of its staff, according to media reports.
Bellevue-based Smith & Tinker, the company behind the Nanovor toy and its accompanying online game site, revealed that it laid off 30 percent of its workers as the firm sought to cut back its staff to "a healthy operational size." Jordan Weisman, the veteran game designer and entrepreneur who established FASA and created series like Shadowrun and MechWarrior, co-founded Smith & Tinker in 2007 and serves as its CEO. Of the company's some 50 workers, around 15 were made redundant this week. Smith & Tinker announced last August that it raised $29 million in venture capital to support Nanovor's recent launch, maintain operations, fund online and television marketing, and push new updates for the online game. The toy side of Nanovor consists of a figure starter kit (collectible figure, digital version of the figure, DVD with animated episodes, and Nanocash in-game currency) and Nanoscope devices (pictured) that kids use to train and battle virtual microscopic bugs. The PC game component offers a free-to-play MMO where they can fight and trade online. Smith & Tinker didn't indicate if lackluster sales for the Nanovor toys or the online game's virtual currency motivated the headcount reduction, but the startup said it hired a significant amount of employees to meet deadlines for the product's launch. "As many startups do, we staffed aggressively early on to meet deadlines for launching our product online and at retail this year," the company explained in a statement posted by VentureBeat. "These layoffs are needed to bring our organization to a healthy operational size for the remainder of this year and 2010." "Nanovor has been recognized by FunFare and Dr. Toy as a hot toy for 2009 and has seen strong consumer adoption to date; the company continues to receive solid support from our board. Employees leaving the company will receive severance packages."

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