Mitú, the digital media company with ambitions to project a Latino point of view across multiple platforms, laid off about one-third of its staff yesterday, as it shifts its emphasis from growth to profitability.
The restructuring also saw the departure of CEO Herb Scannell, a television industry veteran who once ran Nickelodeon and BBC Worldwide North America, and Mitú president and co-founder, Beatriz Acevedo.
Scannell, who joined Mitú as CEO last September, sketched out an aggressive plan to reach Latinos on new platforms, including on television and in theaters. But despite a compelling story — the company has grown 450% over the last four years reaches 100 million unique monthly viewers within a rapidly growing demographic of 58 million people in the U.S. — it struggled to raise money to fuel its growth ambitions.
“The problem is the market has changed, the capital markets have changed,” said Mark Suster of Mitú investor UpFront Ventures. “You can see it in how people are talking about BuzzFeed … In the pressure people are putting on Vice. People care about profitability.”
Suster said Mitú is embracing a more pragmatic approach, focusing on achieving near-term profitability with its core digital media and e-commerce businesses, as it continues to talk with potential investors about a subsequent funding round.
“In our goal to get to profitability, we did have to sadly let some people go,” Suster said. “Yesterday was a painful day. People who have worked very hard for this organization, by no fault of their own, are going to have to go through a job transition.”
Scannell will remain as a consultant to the company, which he has advised for the last two years. The company’s co-founder, Acevedo, will keep her board seat even as she focuses her efforts on social activism.
“As many of you know, I have my own deeply personal and professional heartfelt dreams that I’ve been wanting to explore for a while and with the horrifying state of our country, I feel the responsibility to become a louder voice and a more engaged leader in our community,” Acevedo said in staff memo that was obtained by The Wrap.