Embattled news start-up The Messenger shuts down and staff accounts are deactivated after less than a year in business
- The Messenger employees’ accounts were deactivated shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday
- The startup launched in May 2023 by CEO and founder Jimmy Finkelstein with $50 million in funding
- The company reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars and brought in only about $3 million in revenue
News startup The Messenger is shutting down less than a year after launch, according to reports.
Employees’ accounts were deactivated shortly after 1 p.m. PST on Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford told staff: ‘I’m not in the loop. Trying to find out now,’ after employees asked if there would be any update from management.
The Messenger was launched in May 2023 by CEO and founder Jimmy Finkelstein with $50 million in funding, reports Axios.
The company reportedly lost tens of millions of dollars and brought in only about $3 million in revenue. It originally expected to bring in $100 million in revenue by 2024.
The messenger was launched in May 2023 by CEO and founder Jimmy Finkelstein (pictured) with $50 million in funding now closed
Funding for The Messenger could come from backers including Josh Harris, a co-founder of private equity giant Apollo, and Thomas Peterffy, the former CEO of Interactive Brokers, according to The New York Times.
Finkelstein tried to save the company and said in early January that he had raised $10 million.
The organization has hired about 300 hundred people, including journalists from Politico, Reuters, NBC News and The Associated Press.
Finkelstein and Richard Beckman, president of The Messenger, planned to hire 550 journalists within a year.
According to its website, ‘The Messenger was founded to defend balanced journalism in an age of bias, subjectivity and misinformation.’
After the publication launched, political editor Gregg Birnbaum resigned after clashing with chief growth officer Neetzan Zimmerman.
Finkelstein and the president of The Messenger, Richard Beckman (pictured), planned to hire 550 journalists within a year of the launch.
The site received poor reviews and employees reportedly grew tired of meeting demands.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times cut more than a fifth of its workforce — one of the worst days in the paper’s 142-year history — as it faces $40 million in revenue losses.
The paper’s owner, biotech billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, said the loss of 115 workers was necessary as the business was losing $30 million to $40 million a year.
‘Today’s decision is painful for everyone, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving newspaper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so,’ Soon-Shiong said.
News publishers saw big losses after Meta’s Facebook moved away from news content, ended partnerships with outlets and banned Canadian users from sharing news over a law requiring tech firms to pay fees to news organizations.