It appears the economy has hit the online community as revenues sources scatter and perhaps become not as available. As noted the CEO did not confirm nor deny the cuts, but the online site is not going anywhere by all means. Last year I had posted about the financial connection available with investors established via Bloomberg and now the message appears that they will focus more on their pharma relationships.
Pharma is the largest sector investment in Sermo. The article also states that current conditions are making it difficult to initiate a new tool to mine and distribute the information gathered from the site on how physicians use and feel about medical technologies, aka business intelligence. BD
Sermo, the company that created the country’s largest online community of doctors, informed about 30 workers this morning that they will be laid off, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source says that the company employed 60 to 80 people prior to the cutbacks. We reported that layoffs were coming in our story yesterday about Cambridge, MA-based Sermo’s struggles to make money in the financial services sector.
In a voice mail message today left in response to my query about the layoffs, company CEO Daniel Palestrant declined to confirm or deny that the firm is making cuts. But when I spoke to Palestrant yesterday, he said the company had experienced a tough year, and that after reviewing its strategy, Sermo has decided to focus more narrowly on the pharmaceutical market, with less emphasis on financial services. That meant the company had different needs for people on staff, he said.
“We have to look at ourselves less as a startup company and more as an operating company,” the CEO said yesterday. “That has all sorts of ramifications in the kinds of people you leverage.”
More than 110,000 doctors have joined its online community, where they can pose questions about how to diagnose certain diseases and get feedback from their peers. But the big drug companies and financial institutions that pay Sermo to gain insights into how physicians use new medical technologies have had major layoffs and other financial struggles of their own, making it more difficult for Sermo to get them to adopt a new research tool, Palestrant told me yesterday. He added that drug companies are the startup’s largest source of revenue.