Layoffs reported at former Shopatron office in SLO

Ed Stevens is CEO of the San Luis Obispo branch of Kibo, formerly known as Shopatron. He founded Shopatron in 2001.
Ed Stevens is CEO of the San Luis Obispo branch of Kibo, formerly known as Shopatron. He founded Shopatron in 2001.

A former employee at the San Luis Obispo office of the e-commerce company Kibo, formerly Shopatron, said that eight people were laid off last week.

A source close to the situation couldn’t confirm that number but said “about 20 to 25 people” lost their jobs companywide as part of a consolidation triggered by the merger of Shopatron, MarketLive Inc. of Petaluma and Fiverun of San Francisco. The source declined to be identified, saying that although he is knowledgeable about the company he is not directly involved in its business decisions.

Kibo spokeswoman Mariana Fischbach declined to comment.

Shopatron employed about 160 in San Luis Obispo and 10 in England when it was sold last November to Vista Equity Partners, a private U.S.-based equity firm focused on investing in software and technology-enabled businesses. At that time, Shopatron CEO Ed Stevens said that all current employees would be retained. Ken Burke, then CEO of Marketlive, told The Tribune that dual headquarters would be maintained in San Luis Obispo and in Petaluma, where Shopatron and Marketlive were based.

The source contacted by The Tribune said Kibo plans to grow and maintain its presence locally and hire for new jobs.

Kibo is considered an “omnichannel” commerce platform, which helps companies deliver brands using technologies focusing on point-of-sale solutions, payment processing, web-based merchandising, website content management and design, distributed order management and more, according to its website.

The layoffs were a shock to former Shopatron employees, according to Sandee Hunt, a local merchant specialist who said she resigned from the company last week to take a new job; the timing coincided with the layoffs. She said co-workers were let go with experience ranging from one to nine years.

“When you merge three companies, not everybody will keep the same job,” said the source with inside knowledge of the situation.

The source said he only wanted to provide insight into the decision-making of the company, for perspective on the staff reductions.

“Jobs were cut to create efficiencies,” he said. “But the plan from the beginning is to grow the company and in a matter of weeks, there will be a net gain of employment in these places. New jobs will be added in areas where the company can grow.”

Vista Equity Partners has office locations in San Francisco, Chicago and Austin, Texas.

In recent years, Vista Equity has moved some companies that it has purchased to Texas.

Two multimillion dollar companies, among others, that moved to Texas after being acquired by Vista were Active Network, founded in San Diego and purchased by Vista in 2013; and San Diego-based Websense, a software company purchased by Vista in 2014.

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