Cameo, a startup that sells customized video shout-outs from celebrities that was valued last year at about $1 billion, has made major layoffs after a slowdown in business.
The company laid off 87 staffers, representing roughly 25% of its headcount. CEO Steven Galanis confirmed the cuts, citing the need to “right-size” the business after its fortunes reversed in the wake of a surge driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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In 2020, Cameo claimed it generated about $100 million in gross revenue — up 4.5 times from the year prior. Evidently, its pace of sales has cooled off considerably since then.
In a statement from Galanis provided to Variety, the CEO said, “To support both fan and talent demand during the pandemic lockdowns, Cameo’s headcount exploded from just over 100 to nearly 400. We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have rapidly changed since then. Accordingly, we have right-sized the business to best reflect the new realities.”
Senior execs who were laid off included chief technology officer Rob Post (formerly CTO of Quibi), chief product officer Nundu Janakiram and SVP of marketing Emily Boschwitz.
Galanis continued, “The decision to reduce our headcount was a painful but necessary course correction to ensure that we regain focus as well as achieve the agility to navigate new challenges, the ability to optimize our financial resources, and time and space to nurture newer business segments like Cameo for Business, Represent and web3 that we believe will be as big as the core business that put us on the map. We are bullish on the intermediate and long-term future of Cameo, and the actions we have taken to balance our costs with our cash reserves will best position the company to take full advantage of those growth opportunities.”
Last year, Cameo raised $100 million from investors including Amazon, Google and UTA, giving the company a valuation of just over $1 billion. In October, Cameo made its first acquisition: Represent, an L.A.-based marketing and merchandising platform that develops and operates direct-to-fan ecommerce sites for celebrity clients.
The company sells video shout-outs from more than 45,000 celebrities (and lesser-known folks). Cameo says it takes a 25% cut of sales, with the rest going to talent.
Cameo’s roster of celebs has included Cedric the Entertainer, Kenny G, Erin Andrews, Anthony Anderson, Kate Flannery, Ice T, Brian Baumgartner (Kevin from “The Office”) and Rudy Giuliani. According to Cameo’s website, current trending talent partners include David Hasselhoff ($499 and up for a personalized video), Dolph Lundgren ($350+), Stormy Daniels ($250+), Amanza Smith of “Selling Sunset”($250+) and singer Randy Travis ($200+).
Just yesterday, Snap and Cameo announced a new partnership, the Snap x Cameo Advertiser Program, which will let Snapchat video advertisers pair up with Cameo talent partners to create custom short-form video ads for Snapchat.
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