TechCrunch has learned that Maker Media, the company behind the DIY magazine and online publication Make:, as well as the Maker Faire science, art, and hacking festivals that happen all around the world each year, ceased operations last week and let go of the rest of its 22 employees.
The company’s founder and CEO, Dale Dougherty, confirmed to TechCrunch that since its inception 15 years ago, the business has been a struggle, as it has been four countless print publications over the past few decades. Layoffs first hit the company back in 2016, followed by eight more staffers being laid off in March, which the SF Chronicle reported ahead of the 2019 Maker Faire; the company’s flagship event held in the Bay Area each year. Despite rain, the event met its ticket sales, but it’s doubtful it will return to the Bay Area or New York in 2020. Those are the two Maker Faires that Maker Media officially organizes, but according to Dougherty, other regional Maker Faires, which simply license the name and branding, will still proceed for 2019. According to TechCrunch, Maker Faire has “200 owned and licensed events per year in over 40 countries.”
Instead of officially declaring bankruptcy, Maker Media has opted for something known as an assignment for benefit of creditors which is a similar proceeding—assets are liquidated to pay creditors—but the courts aren’t involved so it usually happens much quicker. It’s not necessarily the end of Maker Media, however, as Dougherty told TechCrunch that he’s hoping that by scaling back the company, he can keep the Make: publication in print, and the Maker Faire licensing program running so those popular events will continue into 2020.
Maker Media did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
That will require the company to find new sources of funding, and while venture capital firms might no longer be interested, longtime fans of the magazine and festivals have already started GoFundMe campaigns, and even Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey has expressed interest in doing what he can to help save Maker Media. More details on the future of the company will be revealed in the coming weeks and months, but for the time being the website for Make: will remain online.