The company behind anonymous messaging app Yik Yak laid-off between 30 and 50 employees, The Verge reported, having failed to live up to early hype.

Community, marketing, design and product teams were particularly affected.

While Yik Yak saw some success in its early years, this was accompanied by concerns that its anonymous nature could make it a tool for cyberbullying. It tried to drop the anonymous feature, but that didn’t work either.

Tyler Droll, CEO, said the firm recently made some strategic changes in line with key areas of focus, which included making “the difficult decision to lay off a portion of the team”.

“We are incredibly appreciative of their contributions toward making Yik Yak the special place for college students around the world that it is today,” he added.

Yik Yak launched in 2014 and was very popular in college campuses. In November of that year, investors valued the company at $400 million.

Earlier in 2016, it dropped its defining feature (anonymity) and asked users to use a ‘handle’ for posts.

While these handles did not have to correspond to a user’s real identity, moving away from anonymity proved to be challenging.

Since November it has once again lets users post without handles, but it has still been unable to attract new sign-ups.

It has also been suggested that due to its position as a local social network centered on campuses, its potential for growth beyond this is limited.

The app maker has raised a total of $73.5 million from investors.

According to The Verge, the firm “still has millions of dollars left in the bank, giving it more time to figure out a new path forward.”

Anonymous social app Secret, which was surrounded by controversy and concerns about bullying and the spreading of false information, was shut down in April last year.