Webjunto, the ubiquitous NoLibs web dev shop celebrated for its diverse team, is closing its doors at the end of March.
The tale of the bootstrapped company’s shutdown is a bit different than your traditional startup postmortems. Per Webjunto founders Liz Brown and Jedidiah Weller, the company’s shutdown will pave the way for two new ventures led by each of them, ones that are in accordance with their individual interests.
“As we move forward with our new ventures we will both continue to serve global startup and entrepreneurial communities with more focused approaches that fit our personal goals as individuals,” Brown said in a press release published Wednesday.
The move, the cofounder said, did not represent any layoffs for the team of 20 employees. In fact, it’s a payday: as the company shutters, it will distribute its value among its shareholders, including employees, who were given stock options as part of their compensation packages.
“It’s just the perfect time to move on and focus on the stuff we personally were working on the side,” said Weller, who started the bootstrapped company alongside Brown in 2014.
There was no specific triggering event for the move, the founders said. Members of the core founding team were planning on relocating, for personal reasons, throughout the year. Though the idea of keeping the staffers remotely was floated, it wasn’t an option that fit the company’s culture, Brown said.
“It made us accelerate the conversations we were having,” Weller said. “We talked about every different way that we could continue, but none of them put anyone else in a good situation.”
Today, the company’s staff of 20 — 16 in Philly, four others working remotely — will meet to discuss the path ahead. Weller, a Drexel grad, plans to use his engineering background to continue working on digital products. Brown, a frequent public speaker and Philly Startup Leaders’ board member, will follow through on her user experience knowledge to explore a venture in that field. Together, they’ll continue to organize the Philadelphia Junto Meetup.
Neither new venture has a name yet, but the founders said they expect to retain a good portion of the staff between the two companies.
“It’s very possible that our two agencies will collaborate,” Weller said. “Right now, we’re just taking it one step at a time.”