The Download: LivingSocial has cut its head count in half, but has plans to hire

LivingSocial is half the size it was during its heyday.

The District-based deals company counts roughly 2,000 employees worldwide, Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge said in an interview last week. That figure includes 520 employees in D.C.

That’s about half of LivingSocial’s stated size during its days of rapid global expansion. Then, the firm’s global head count surpassed 4,000, and its local presence topped 1,000.

The reduction in staff should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the company in recent years. LivingSocial endured a series of layoffs, both large and small, as it struggled to overcome a slump in its flagship daily deals business.

The company has closed or sold a number of overseas outposts, including its large Ticket Monster operation in South Korea, in an effort to stave off losses or raise cash.

Spokeswoman Sara Parker said the company’s done shedding jobs, and now plans to bulk up its engineering staff nationwide and its sales staff at its office in Torrance, Calif. The company is planning a large hiring event there May 27, she said.

The company is especially looking to fill one key post: chief executive. A successor to founder Tim O’Shaughnessy, who announced plans to step down in January, has yet to be named.

(Amazon.com owns roughly one-third of LivingSocial. Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post and related publications.)

Bits and bytes

District-based Chase Pharmaceuticals, which aims to improve the safety and efficacy of Alzheimer’s drugs, pocketed $21 million last week in a financing round led by New Rhein Healthcare Investors. Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners and Cipla Ventures also took part.

Scott Sandell, a general partner in the MenloPark, Calif., office of New Enterprise Associates, was named chairman of Arlington-based National Venture Capital Association. The organization produces a report in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers outlining venture capital investments each quarter. Sandell’s term will run until 2015.

The Web sites for the Maryland and District of Columbia governments each got a facelift last week as those entities aim to reach constituents on new devices. The new Maryland.gov and DC.gov are optimized for mobile phones, for example.

Steven Overly is a national reporter covering federal technology and energy policy with a focus on Capitol Hill. He previously covered the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital.
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