Cameo, a Chicago startup that sells custom video shout-outs from celebrities who saw their popularity soar during the pandemic, has laid off 25 percent of its workforce as celebrities return to in-person events.
Chief Executive Stephen Galanis said he laid off 87 employees, including those in senior and entry-level positions, during a company-wide meeting on Wednesday, citing the need to cut back after profits topped $100 million in 2020, diverse mentioned.
“To support fan demand and talent during pandemic shutdowns, Cameo’s staff has grown from over 100 to nearly 400,” Galanis said in a statement.
We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have changed rapidly since then. Accordingly, we have the right volume of work to best reflect the new realities.
Galanis took to Twitter later that day to call for other companies to hire laid-off employees.
Today was a tough day at the office. I made the agonizing decision to part with 87 beloved members of the Cameo Fameo, Galanis wrote. If you’re looking to hire hungry, humble, smart, kind, curious, educated machines who love to win – and you see Cameo on their resume – then look no further.
CEO Stephen Galanis (pictured) said he has laid off 87 employees, including those in entry-level and senior positions, during a company-wide meeting on Wednesday.
He took to Twitter after the meeting to beg others to hire the laid-off employees
Cameo allows fans to purchase personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities. During the pandemic, his popularity has skyrocketed, with the company earning $100 million in 2020 alone
Launched in 2017, Cameo has made a name for itself by allowing fans to purchase personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities, whether they’re actors, authors, athletes, influencers, or general pop culture icons.
The company’s popularity quickly skyrocketed during the pandemic when quarantines canceled events and kept people at home, as profits soared to $100 million, four times what the company made in 2019.
The Office star Brian Baumgartner—whose stunning performance as Kevin Malone has earned him endless affection from fans—has earned over $1 million in 2020 through his Cameo.
At $2,500, Caitlyn Jenner charges the most for a scream, with Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary not far behind at $1,200.
But as the pandemic waned, so did enthusiasm for Cameo’s services, Galanis said, insisting it was necessary to downsize the company and refocus its goals.
The decision to reduce our headcount was a painful but necessary course correction to ensure we regain focus as well as achieve resilience in meeting new challenges and the ability to optimize our finances, time and space to nurture new business segments such as Cameo for Business, Representation and Web 3 which we believe will be as big as the core business That puts us on the map,” Galanis said.
“We are optimistic about Cameo’s medium- and long-term future, and the actions we have taken to balance our costs with our cash reserves will best position the company to take full advantage of these growth opportunities.”
Caitlyn Jenner is the most expensive celebrity Cameo, charging $2,500 per message
The Chicago-based company grew in popularity and expanded to Los Angeles, where it bought a villa and held a Super Bowl party in February (pictured)
Last year, Cameo was valued at just over $1 billion after raising $100 million from investors, including Amazon, Google, and the United Talent Agency.
By October, it had bought Reps, a Los Angeles-based advertising and marketing platform that runs direct-to-fan e-commerce websites for celebrities.
The company even bought a villa in Los Angeles, where it was throwing a Super Bowl party in February.
On Tuesday, Cameo and Snapchat Snap’s parent company announced a new partnership, the Snap x Cameo Advertiser Program, that will allow Snapchat advertisers to pair with Cameo celebrities to create video ads for the social media platform.
Cameo’s change comes as COVID-19 cases continue to decline two years into the pandemic.
The United States reported 114,308 new cases of COVID-19 in the past day, according to Johns Hopkins University, along with 1,960 new deaths.
More than two-thirds of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and about 82.5 percent have had at least one jab.
Top celebrities on Cameo
Launched in 2017, Cameo allows fans to purchase personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities, whether they’re actors, authors, athletes, influencers, or general pop culture icons.
Caitlyn Jenner is currently charging the most for a Cameo, with a personal message coming in at $2,500. Jenner also charges companies $50,000 to be included in video content for the company, clients, or employees.
Jenner sends the proceeds she earns on the Cameo to her charity, the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation, which fights discrimination against transgender youth.
At $2,500, Caitlyn Jenner (above) charges the most for a personal shoutout
Kevin O’Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, is the second most expensive celebrity on the site, charging $1,500 for a personal message
Kevin O’Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank, is the second most expensive celebrity on the site.
O’Leary charges $1,500 for a personal letter and $6,500 for businesses. He describes himself on the site as “(Four) Time Emmy Award’s Mr. Wonderful Shark Tank Award winner, 3-time bestselling author, CNBC contributor, winemaker, guitar dude and photographer.
Other early winners include Saturday Night Live and MadTV alumnus Jeff Richards, who charges $999 for a personal cameo.
The comedian offers his clients the chance to choose a celebrity to impersonate while he reads a 50-word letter of their choice.
Saturday Night Live and MadTV alumnus Jeff Richards charges $999
Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, from Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, charges $699 for personal messages but only $599 for businesses.
Cameo co-founder Martin Belncowe calls Dreyfus an American icon and joins Dreyfus in the Cameo movie to highlight the actor’s fame and fan base.
Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, from Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, charges $699 for personal messages but only $599 for businesses
Rapper Dennis Coles, better known as Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, has been among the many musicians who have jumped into the limelight and appeared throughout the pandemic.
Coles books only through Cameo and charges $600 for personal messages. He also offers to sing two lines in the customer’s song.
Rapper Dennis Coles, better known as Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, offers to sing two lines in a song for customers through a Cameo
Tom Felton, who played Harry Potter’s rival Draco Malfoy in the beloved film series, is also on a cameo charging $599 for personal letters and $4,444 for businesses.
The actor plays himself as the villainous Malfoy, much to the delight of dedicated Harry Potter fans.
Tom Felton, who played Harry Potter’s rival Draco Malfoy in the beloved film franchise, is on a cameo that charges $599 per letter.