Early last year, six-year-old startup Cameo was in tears. Pandemic-induced blockades in 2020 have stimulated the search for personalized video messages that celebrities sell on the website and its application. Co-founder and CEO Stephen Galanis was preparing for a major expansion that would triple his workforce from pre-pandemic levels and give him the confidence to assert Cameo can be traded publicly for 18 to 36 months. But as pandemic constraints eased last year, cooling demand for online work and entertainment, tensions arose in the business.
By the end of 2021, Cameo had booked about $ 100 million in transactions between celebrities and individual customers of Cameo, its core business, which is only 8% more than in 2020, according to an internal document reviewed by The Information. (The company retains approximately 25% of these transactions as revenue.) Including sales from other businesses, such as commodity manufacturer Represent, which it acquired last year, the value of all customer transactions rose 37% to $ 132 million.
Even that was far less than Galanis’ forecast in June 2021, when he told The Information that the company was aiming to reserve $ 200 million to $ 300 million in customer orders last year. Growth has slowed sharply since 2020, a year in which Cameo said its video advertising business has more than quadrupled.