Atlas Informatics cuts staff as Napster co-founder’s startup sharpens focus on universal search engine

Credit: geekwire.com

Atlas Informatics CEO Jordan Ritter. Photo via Atlas.

Atlas Informatics has cut nearly a third of its staff.


Atlas CEO Jordan Ritter, who was previously a co-founder of Napster, confirmed the layoffs in an email to GeekWire on Monday. The Seattle-based startup now employs 23 people, down from 34 this past November when it raised a $20.7 million investment round.


The company’s software acts as a personal search engine, running in the background on users’ computers to capture an encrypted record of their activity across different apps and services. The idea is to help users quickly locate information within files, emails, and other personal data.


Atlas came out of stealth mode in November 2015 as the first company spun out of Seattle startup innovation studio Ivy Softworks, also started by Ritter. The idea for Ivy Softworks was to create an “innovation studio” — not an accelerator or incubator — that keeps the same employees together to work on product after product.


As Ritter explained to GeekWire in 2014, in his view, it was inefficient to spend time recruiting a whole new set of A-team players or finding new office space every time a new business idea emerges.


When Atlas first spun out of Ivy Softworks, all of the employees from Ivy Softworks shifted to work for Atlas. Last year, Ritter said that Softworks “has been put on pause for now, but the business continues to exist.”


Now, Ritter says its “full focus is on Atlas.” Here is his statement.


As you know, we’ve been in a transition from a product-oriented innovation studio to a lean, business-focused startup. To complete the transition we let go 10 of our valued colleagues, whose dedication and efforts I’m tremendously thankful for. Our recruiter is working with them to find their next role, many of whom will be securing opportunities in the next week. Our full focus is on Atlas, which we launched in open beta into November, and we have since received a strong reception from users, media and the market. This positive feedback has validated our approach to personal search, and accelerated our development of contextual suggestions, a new kind of technology that intelligently suggests what you need in the moment and proactively organizes your digital life for you.


A web archive from January shows 11 employees who are no longer listed on Atlas’ “about” page, including several engineers and a product designer who had been at Atlas for more than three years. The company has no open positions on its jobs page.


This past November, Atlas raised $20.7 million from Microsoft, Aspect Ventures, and Nathan Myhrvold, the Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft CTO. Microsoft invested on behalf of the company itself, not its Microsoft Ventures arm.


At the time, Atlas also released its first product, Atlas Recall, in open beta for Mac users, along with an iOS companion app. The company is also working on a Windows 10 version of the product.


Related Tags

#atlasinformatics

Top Stories

Doctor Who review: Bill and the Timelord must grin and bear it in Smile

“There’s a giant smiley abattoir, and I’m having this childish impulse to blow it up.”
  • 1 day ago
  • 13

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago
  • 4

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago
  • 4

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago
  • 4

Watch ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye’s epic defense of science at ‘March for Science’ in Washington, D.C.

Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” the television personality and former Boeing engineer who got his start in Seattle TV sketch comedy, gave a rousing speech in defense of science at the March for Science today in Washington, D.C. — to the traditional chant of “Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!” from the crowd. Watch his address above and continue reading for a transcript. Bill Nye, Planetary Society CEO and host of “Bill Nye Saves The World.” Greetings, greetings, follow citizens! We are marching today to remind people everywhere — our lawmakers, especially — of the significance of science for our health and prosperity. The process of science… Read More
  • 1 day ago
  • 3
farawayyachtingcharters - Easy Branches
botoxfillerveintheraphyinphuket - Easy Branches

Latest in Technology

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago

Week in Review: Most popular stories on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017

See the technology stories that people were reading on GeekWire for the week of April 16, 2017.… Read More
  • 16 hours ago

Doctor Who review: Bill and the Timelord must grin and bear it in Smile

“There’s a giant smiley abattoir, and I’m having this childish impulse to blow it up.”
  • 1 day ago

Scenes from the ‘other Washington’: D.C.’s March for Science sparks a chain reaction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The scenery for the world’s most watched March for Science may have featured the political icons of the nation’s capital, but the weather was pure Seattle. Today’s rally brought thousands of people to the National Mall for hours’ worth of teach-ins and speeches, despite a Seattle-style drizzle. Bill Nye the Science Guy, a co-chair for the national March for Science movement, struck on the theme of the day when he noted that many policymakers in Washington and around the world were “deliberately and actively suppressing science.” He also noted the stereotypical view of scientists as detached nerds who dwell… Read More
  • 1 day ago

‘The oceans are rising and so are we.’ Photos, tweets, and more from Seattle’s March for Science

It’s a soggy Seattle Saturday but that didn’t deter thousands of activists from marching for climate research and sound science policy today. A huge assembly marched from Cal Anderson park in Capitol Hill to the International Fountain at Seattle Center, many chanting “the oceans are rising and so are we.” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray came out to show their support. Seattle’s March for Science is one of countless events taking place across the country in honor of Earth Day. Many of the people bracing the fickle April elements are protesting President Trump’s actions related to climate change… Read More
  • 1 day ago

Week in Geek: Facebook tries telepathic typing, inside an Amazon greenhouse, and more

Are you ready to type with just your brain? Facebook revealed this week that it’s working with a team of more than 60 scientists around the world to develop what it calls a “silent speech” interface to decode human thoughts and convert them to text. We debate the potential benefits and risks of this futuristic technology on this episode of the Week in Geek, our weekly tech news podcast. In other news, Google parent Alphabet is looking for 10,000 volunteers around the world to share personal medical information over the course of four years. The goal is to get a big-picture look at human health and track possible… Read More
  • 2 days ago

This Week in Seattle: Mayoral race heats up with income tax proposals and new contenders

This week in Seattle: The mayoral race heats up; Scoop partners with the city to promote carpooling; Earth Day celebrations kick off; and Gov. Inslee calls for a special session. Seattle celebrates Earth Day like the nature freaks we are Happy Earth Day! There are events all around town today celebrating this gorgeous blue planet we call home. Champions of government-sponsored science research and policies that support those programs will March for Science at Cal Anderson Park. Local, sustainable food advocates should head over to MOHAI for the Edible City Science Fair. The Student Conservation Association is planning a day… Read More
  • 2 days ago

Russian man gets longest-ever US hacking sentence, 27 years in prison

Roman Seleznev bankrupted businesses, did $170 million in damage.
  • 2 days ago

Seahawks star Russell Wilson, astronaut Buzz Aldrin share inspiration with students at WE Day

Write down your goals, listen more, and dream big. These are good pieces of advice for anyone, really, but they held special importance for more than 15,000 students who gathered inside an energetic Key Arena on Friday in Seattle for WE Day, an annual event that celebrates youth empowerment. WE Day events, hosted by non-profit WE, are attended annually by more than 200,000 students from more than 10,000 schools in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Students earn tickets by participating in local WE Schools programs. There were several celebrities who spoke on stage Friday in Seattle, including space icon Buzz Aldrin. The Apollo… Read More
  • 2 days ago