Jaunt VR, an immersive media company whose investors include the Walt Disney Co. and the German publishing house Axel Springer, laid off a “significant portion” of its staff as it refocuses on augmented reality.
“We are restructuring the company, resulting in letting go of a significant portion of our staff,” the company said in a statement to Deadline. “It was a difficult day at Jaunt as we are losing some of the most amazing talent in the industry, each of whom have individually made groundbreaking contributions to the company and the industry as a whole.”
It was not immediately clear how many employees would be affected by the reductions. The company declined to specify a number. A WARN Act notification to the state of California, which is required for layoffs of a significant scope, has not been filed.
Jaunt is devoting its resources instead to a new volumetric capture technology it showed off recently at its studios in Santa Monica, in which it captured a subject (say, a person) in full 360-degree perspective, and placed the object in another environment (in this case, a desktop).
Change seemed to be coming last month, when Jaunt announced that its vice president of business development, Mitzi Reaugh, would take over as CEO, succeeding media veteran George Kliavkoff, who accepted a job as president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International.
Reaugh was described as a leading force behind the launch of the new Jaunt XR Platform, an augmented and virtual reality distribution system. Jaunt also acquired Personify’s Teleport system, a software platform that captures and streams 3D augmented reality footage of people and objects.
Jaunt was behind a number of groundbreaking 360-degree productions, including one production, Collisions, that won an Emmy Award for outstanding new approach to documentary. It told the story of an indigenous Australian tribe.