Cameo, Your Favourite Celebrity Shout-Out App Announces Layoffs

Cameo, Your Favourite Celebrity Shout-Out App Announces Layoffs
Photo: Anna Webber, Getty Images

The company responsible for giving your favourite D tier celebrities a financial lifeline reportedly fired a quarter of its staff.

The celebrity greeting service reportedly laid off 87 workers this week, which amounts to around 25% of its total staff, according to one employee speaking with The Information. That bad news, the employee said, came during a Wednesday all-hands meeting. Cameo CEO and co-founder Steven Galanis confirmed the layoffs in a statement sent to Gizmodo Thursday.

“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,” Galanis said.

That course correction comes after Cameo went on a bit of a hiring spree to meet increased demand for the platform during the pandemic. Galanis said Cameo increased its staff by fourfold during the pandemic, swelling from 100 to 400 workers. At one point in time, the now five-year-old company achieved a valuation of over $US1 ($1) billon. Those short-term gains were destined to come crashing back down.

“We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have rapidly changed since then.” Galanis said. “Accordingly, we have right-sized the business to best reflect the new realities.”

Cameo reportedly laid off several senior executives, including chief technology officer Rob Post, Chief Product Officer Nundu Janakiram, and Senior Vice President of Marketing Emily Boschwitz.

The layoffs mark a sudden fall from grace for the company which some said was “made for the coronavirus.”

For those who haven’t used the service, Cameo essentially lets users pay to request personalised greetings from athletes, celebrities, musicians, and influencers. That simple premise provided a much-needed source of income for live performers who were suddenly forced out of work for months due to lockdown orders. Since its founding, Cameo has attracted a wide range of celebrities, ranging from Snoop Dog and Caitlyn Jenner to Donald Trump Jr.

Bored viewers stuck at home were more than willing to dish out some cash to see their favourite stars wish them happy birthday. According to Variety, Cameo generated $US100 ($139) million in revenue in 2020 which comes out to 4.5 times more revenue than it made the previous year. That same year the company reportedly sold 1.3 million videos and added 10,000 new creators, Axios notes. Last year, Cameo reportedly raised $US100 ($139) million from investors including Amazon and Google.

Looking forward, Galanis said he’s “bullish” on Cameo’s medium and long-term future, saying the recent layoffs will allow the company to pour more resources into other smaller segments like Cameo for Business, Represent and web3.

“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 CEO said.