It’s been a rocky 14 months since Snap Inc. went public, and the Venice-based app-maker’s disappointing 2018 first quarter earnings coincided with a change to its C-suite.

The company announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing May 7 that Chief Financial Officer Drew Vollero was stepping down effective May 15.

No reason was given for Vollero’s departure.

“He has done an amazing job as Snap’s first CFO, building a strong team and helping to guide us through our transition to becoming a public company,” Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said in the SEC filing. “The discipline that he has brought to our business will serve us well into the future. We wish Drew continued success and all the best.”

Tim Stone will take over for Vollero, arriving from Amazon.com Inc. where he was the vice president of finance. He’s set to receive $20 million in stock options with the right to purchase an additional 500,000 shares. Vollero will stay on as a “non-employee advisor” until Aug. 15, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The word on the CFO switch preceded the latest swoon in the social media company’s shares, which sunk below $11 for the first time in mid-May. Shares are now less than half of their value on the day Snap went public last year.

Shares have been dipping since the company’s May 1 earnings report, which showed Snap’s revenue at $230.6 million for the quarter, with a loss of $385 million. The chief disappointment for investors seemed to be a miss on expectations for new users of the app, which added four million during the quarter, well short of Wall Street expectations.

Analysts suggest a lot of the decline is due to Snapchat’s January redesign, which hasn’t exactly caught on. A research poll from YouGov BrandIndex shows 18-to-34-year-olds approval of the app sunk by 73 percent since the new interface rolled out.

Amazon Rings In

Both Ring Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have been quiet since the web retail giant acquired the home security company for $1 billion.

The silence ended earlier this month when ring announced a move from Santa Monica to Hawthorne, which is known for being an aerospace hub but has recently begun attracting startups and tech companies.

Mucker Capital partner William Hsu said moves like this are similar to Silicon Valley companies relocating to San Jose.

“Moving is inevitable,” Hsu said. “Real estate is too scare and expensive in a lot of the start up hubs.”

The company’s 250 or so workers will move in to a 62,000-square-foot renovated warehouse at 12515 Cerise Ave over a 10-year lease, according to company representative Rebecca Liu Morales.

The company also announced a new app called Neighbors, which will allow people to sync their Ring doorbell app and share information with neighbors about package theft and other security issues. The app is further evidence of consolidation in the home security sector and the larger smart home industry.

Adam Wright, a senior research analyst at International Data Corp., said Amazon’s overall strategy is three-pronged: increase pressure on competitors; blur the lines between do-it-yourself and managed services; and possibly acquire and partner with more companies in the future.

“Whereas previously Amazon lacked the breadth and depth of devices and services that DIY competitors like Nest could deliver, Amazon is now equipped with a robust portfolio of DIY security and monitoring solutions,” Wright said. “(International Data Corp.) views home automation, monitoring, and security as a high-growth potential segment of the smart home market moving forward, and Amazon is well positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities as more consumers become aware of and interested in these types of internet of things-enabled solutions.”

Wright pointed out that Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and ADT Corp. recently partnered to combine the managed services and do-it-yourself components of home security and Amazon could look to do the same.

“Given this trend, it’s highly likely that Amazon could soon look to partner with providers of professional monitoring services — or even acquire a provider outright — which would further strengthen Amazon’s position in the smart home market,” Wright said.

SpaceX Relaunches Block 5

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. had to call off the launch of its newest Falcon rocket, Block 5, just one minute before the scheduled take-off May 10. A tweet from SpaceX’s official account said the misfire was due to a standard hiccup.

“Standing down today due to a standard ground system auto abort at T-1 min,” the tweet read. “Rocket and payload are in good health—teams are working towards tomorrow’s backup launch opportunity at 4:14 p.m. EDT, or 20:14 UTC.”

SpaceX got right back to action the next day, successfully launching the Block 5 at 4:14 p.m. ET from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The rocket is carrying Bangabandhu satellite-1, the first satellite for Bangladesh.

Staff reporter Eli Horowitz can be reached at ehorowitz@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8335.

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