In another blow to the creator economy, Substack, a company that provides services for writers to offer paid newsletters, laid off 13 employees, about 14% of its headcount.
CEO Chris Best told staffers of the layoffs in a memo, which he posted on Twitter. “Today’s the saddest day we’ve had at Substack,” he wrote.
In the memo, Best said, “Our goal is to make Substack robust even in the toughest market conditions, and to set the company up for long-term success without relying on raising money — or, at least, doing so only on our time and our terms.”
Some of Substack’s most popular newsletters are penned by Heather Cox Richardson, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Noah Smith, Glenn Greenwald, Joseph Pompliano and Emily Oster. Other notable authors on the platform include Chuck Palahniuk, George Saunders and Salman Rushdie. The company has claimed that more than 1 million paying newsletter subscribers.
San Francisco-based Substack, founded in 2017, had been seeking to raise $75 million-$100 million in a series C round — at a valuation of about $1 billion valuation — but abandoned the effort last month, the New York Times reported. The company generated about $9 million in revenue in 2021, per the Times.
”In recent weeks, the macroeconomic outlook has become increasingly uncertain, making it clear that we should be prepared for a period of challenging conditions that could last years,” Best wrote in the note to staff. “By refocusing our team and financial planning, we can fund our investments from our growing business while remaining a reliable partner for the writers who are building their own businesses on our platform.”
Read Best’s memo:
Today’s the saddest day we’ve had at Substack. We’re letting go of 13 people. Here’s the note I shared with the team. pic.twitter.com/0ycGtrIBh6
— Chris Best (@cjgbest) June 29, 2022