MasterClass Lays Off 20% of Employees as Tech Cuts Continue

MasterClass Lays Off 20% of Employees as Tech Cuts Continue
MasterClass CEO David Rogier. (Photo: Cindy Ord, Getty Images)

Online educational platform MasterClass announced Thursday that it would lay off 20% of its employees, joining a number of other tech companies that have reduced the size of their teams to try and adapt to worsening economic conditions.

On Wednesday, MasterClass CEO David Rogier said on Twitter that he had to make the “really hard decision” to cut back on the company’s staff members in order to “adapt to the worsening macro environment and get to self sustainability faster.” Rogier went on to say that this “very tough step will strengthen our position both financially and strategically.” He said the company’s the company’s mission remains the same.

MasterClass launched in 2015 but found newfound interest in 2020 during the pandemic as the need for virtual classes grew. In 2021, the company announced that it had received $US225 ($312) million in funding from new investors to further accelerate its growth. The company offers a subscription-based access to online classes led by high-profile celebrities like actress and producer Issa Rae, photographer Annie Leibovitz, director Spike Lee, and chef Gordon Ramsay.

The platform charges $US180 ($250) in annual subscription fees, which accounts for 100% of MasterClass’s revenue, according to TechCrunch. But MasterClass instructors do not come at a cheap price, with some of them cashing in at least $US100,000 ($138,820) up front, in addition to receiving a share of at least 30% of the revenue from any given class, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

MasterClass isn’t the only company being forced to cut its staff as of late. PayPal, Netflix, Cameo, Robinhood, and Carvana, are among the lengthy list of companies that have cut their workforce in the last couple of months. Bird cut nearly a quarter of its staff just last week, citing economic headwinds that necessitated reaching profitability more quickly.