By Hadar Horesh
The slowdown has smashed into bluetooth technology startup
, which is halving its workforce and closing its New Jersey offices.
The 20 dismissals include its VP Business Development in the United States - and company founder Moshe Elgressy, who will however maintain contact with First Access as an external advisor.
"The decision on the layoffs stems from changes in the market that compel us to adapt to its current requirements rather than future ones, as well as to adapt to the expectations of investors who want the money that has been raised to last for a longer time," explained the company's CEO, Noam Ziv.
Elgressy, 27, founded First Access in 1997. The company started out developing wireless security solutions for the vicinity authentification market. But as the market changed, First Access shifted to bluetooth, a technology standard to wirelessly connect between mobile devices, regular and mobile computers, and phones.
"Bluetooth" is a standard named after the 10th century Danish Viking king Harald Bluetooth, to wirelessly connect between computers, mobile computers, handheld devices such as PDAs and cellphones. The purpose of the technology is to virtually eliminate the need for cables to connect between devices containing bluetooth chips.
First Access completed a second funding round in July, securing $4.7 million according to a company valuation of $30 million. Investors included Shamrock, Singapore-based Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, the Jerusalem Venture Partners fund, and the Neurone venture capital fund. Neurone also participated in the company's seed round and holds 20% of First Access' equity.
Market sources say that until recently First Access had maintained six development teams, each focusing on a different application in areas in which there is not yet sufficient market demand.
"We decided to leave just one development team for identification and security applications and technologies in which the market is interested at this stage. When the market changes, we'll return to working on the applications we developed and expand the company," Ziv said.
He added that First Access would be shifting its geographic focus from the United States to Europe and the Far East. He added that First Access still has enough funds to finance its operations for a period of two years.