Embattled news start-up The Messenger shuts down and staff accounts are deactivated after less than a year in business

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The Messenger employees had their accounts deactivated shortly after 1 p.m. on Wednesday
  • The start-up launched in May 2023 by CEO and founder Jimmy Finkelstein with $50 million in funding
  • The company was reportedly losing tens of millions of dollars and only brought in around $3 million in revenue 

News start-up The Messenger is shutting down less than a year after launching, according to reports.

Employees had their accounts deactivated shortly after 1 p.m. PST on Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford told staff, ‘I am 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, reported Axios.

The company was reportedly losing tens of millions of dollars and only brought in around $3 million in revenue. It originally projected to bring in $100 million in revenue for 2024.

The Messenger was launched in May 2023 by CEO and founder Jimmy Finkelstein (pictured) with $50 million in funding is now shutting down

Funding for The Messenger can from backers including Josh Harris, a co-founder of the private-equity giant Apollo, and Thomas Peterffy, the former chief executive of Interactive Brokers, according to The New York Times.

Finkelstein tried to save the company and in early January said he had raised $10 million. 

The organization hired about 300 hundred people, including journalist from Politico, Reuters, NBC News and The Associated Press.

Finkelstein and The Messenger’s president Richard Beckman planned to hire 550 journalist within a year. 

According to its website, ‘The Messenger was founded to champion balanced journalism in an era of bias, subjectivity, and misinformation.’ 

After the publication launched, the politics editor, Gregg Birnbaum, quit after clashing with the chief growth officer, Neetzan Zimmerman.

Finkelstein and The Messenger's president Richard Beckman (pictured) had planned to hire 550 journalist within a year after it launched

Finkelstein and The Messenger’s president Richard Beckman (pictured) had planned to hire 550 journalist within a year after it launched 

The site received poor reviews and employees reportedly grew tired of trying to meet demands. 

Last week, the Los Angeles Times has slashed over a fifth of its workforce – one of the worst days in the paper’s 142-year history – as it faces $40million in revenue losses.

The paper’s owner, biotech billionaire Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, said the loss of 115 workers was necessary as the business is losing $30million to $40million per year.

‘Today’s decision is painful for all, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so,’ Soon-Shiong said.

News publishers have seen major losses after Meta’s Facebook moved away from news content, ending partnerships with outlets and banning Canadian users from sharing news over a law that requires tech firms to pay fees to news organizations.

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