Mike Isaac

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Viddy Co-Founder Chris Ovitz to Depart Company

After a rocky year of high-level departures and staff cuts, social mobile startup Viddy will soon lose a key member of its team.

Chris Ovitz, co-founder and head of business development at Viddy, has taken a reduced, part-time role at the startup, with plans to eventually leave the company altogether, according to sources familiar with the matter.

While Ovitz did not respond to a request for comment, Viddy confirmed Ovitz’s role change to AllThingsD. “Chris is a tremendous partner and asset to Viddy, and he will shift into a part-time role as our team is focused on building the best social video experience,” said JJ Aguhob, Viddy co-founder and president, in a statement. “Chris’ skills are invaluable to our marketing and strategic partnerships initiatives and we’re glad he’ll continue to play that role.”

Along with co-founders Aguhob and Brett O’Brien, Ovitz played a key role in the formation of the mobile video startup, which lets users share short video clips with others, using their smartphones. Viddy rose to prominence over the summer of 2012, when mobile social video apps like Socialcam and Klip gained traction and a wide user base on the back of the Facebook platform.

But as users began to feel spammed by mobile video app activity, Facebook quickly curtailed the apps’ growth by making changes in the News Feed. As a result, Viddy, Socialcam and others saw massive drops in user activity, and have languished ever since.

In the time since, Viddy has faced its own series of internal challenges, giving former CEO Brett O’Brien the boot and eventually cutting its staff by more than a third.

The loss of Ovitz, however, will cut especially deep. One source claimed Ovitz was the “key” member of Viddy, in particular his “relationships with content creators to investors” doing a large part to drive the ailing company.

The remainder of Ovitz’s tenure as a part-time adviser and consultant is indefinite, and it isn’t clear what his next move will be.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work