The Messenger’s costly debut leads to its news startup demise.

January 31, 2024


  • News startup The Messenger is shutting down less than a year after its launch.
  • The decision to close the digital news outlet was made due to difficulties in raising money and economic challenges.

News startup The Messenger is shutting down less than a year after its launch, citing difficulties in raising money and “economic headwinds.” The company raised $50 million last year with the aim of hiring 550 journalists and generating major advertising revenue. However, disinterest from potential investors and failure to generate enough revenue from advertising led to the decision to shutter the publication. The Messenger’s plan to build a massive newsroom quickly backfired, resulting in large costs. The company struggled to generate revenue from advertising and its events and digital video businesses did not take off.

In December, the board of The Messenger discussed shutting down the publication after learning that it was running out of cash. The company attempted to cut costs by laying off two dozen staff members at the beginning of the month. CEO Richard Beckman had previously expressed hopes of generating $100 million in revenue through advertising and events. The company’s founder, Neetzan Zimmerman, was brought on to build its reach.

The Messenger’s struggles highlight the challenges of starting a media company reliant on digital advertising. The company’s financial difficulties were exacerbated by leaks and lack of transparency from top management. Despite the ambitious goals and high-profile hires, The Messenger was unable to sustain its operations.