Cameo Lays Off 25% of Workforce

Cameo, the popular app that allows you to order a custom video shout-out from a celebrity, is reportedly undergoing a major upheaval. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that the company has laid off roughly 25% of its staff, with 87 staffers reportedly getting the axe. The news was confirmed by CEO Steven Galanis, who attributed the cuts to needing to “right-size” the business amid recent monetary declines. The cuts reportedly included chief technology officer Rob Post, who was formerly the CTO of Quibi, as well as chief product officer Nundu Janakiram and SVP of marketing Emily Boschwitz.

“To support both fan and talent demand during the pandemic lockdowns, Cameo‘s headcount exploded from just over 100 to nearly 400,” Galanis said in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Galanis continued. “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.”

The Cameo app reportedly offers fans the opportunity to order video messages from over 45,000 celebrities, with Cameo taking 25% of the sales. According to reports from Cameo itself, the company generated about $100 million in gross revenue, which was 4.5 times the amount they had earned the year prior. The company reportedly raised $100 million from investors in 2021, putting their valuation at just over $1 billion. Last year, the company also acquired its first company in the form of Represent, an L.A.-based platform that develops and operates direct-to-fan ecommerce websites for celebrities.

“When we started the business, a lot of people in the press and even some fans were saying: ‘Why are these celebrities making more money? Aren’t they rich enough?'” Galanis explained in a 2021 interview with The Guardian. “But one of the big things I’ve learned running this is there’s a massive gap between fame and money. Most people are more famous than they are rich and many of them are not making as much money as you think. Ninety-nine percent of the Screen Actors Guild is unemployed at any given time. In sports, the top 2% of athletes make 99% of all the revenue. On music, the top 1% of artists make over 90% of the concert revenue, etc. For a lot of people, direct-to-fan income streams like Cameo are the only thing that’s keeping them afloat. So, last year there were over 160 people on Cameo that made over a $100,000 a year. That’s significant, that helps pay rent, and support families. And we’ve had a few people now make over a million dollars on Cameo. The last thing I’ll mention is, not all of the talent are motivated by cash, but they’re all trying to become more beloved and build relationships with fans.”

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