MeeVee in Tatters, Drops Staff and CEO

Online TV guide startup MeeVee has made significant layoffs and parted ways with its CEO, we’ve confirmed. An unnamed source identified as a laid-off former employee was quoted by Mashable, which first reported the development on Friday, as saying the company is seeking to reduce its burn rate by 60 percent. Former MeeVee CEO Michael Raneri confirmed his departure and the layoffs in an email to NewTeeVee.

Yes, It is true I have left MeeVee. It has been an incredible ride for the last 3 years, and I have been proud of how the site has progressed. However, for the reduced team size the burden of a CEO salary and even having a CEO does not make sense going forward.

Raneri is currently traveling; he promised to provide us with further explanation when he returns. Mashable had also reported that MeeVee’s CTO had stepped down.

Update: We just received an email from Shampa Banerjee, who was cited by Mashable as MeeVee’s former CTO. She confirms that she left the company, though she remains an advisor, but corrects that her title was VP of products and engineering. Banerjee contends the MeeVee community is growing:

As MeeVee tries to cut costs to achieve a viable outcome it made best sense to keep a core team of employees who can keep the product alive and vibrant. These lay-offs need not spell doom for MeeVee.

MeeVee last year laid off 20 percent of its staff before raising more money — $3.5 million in Series D funding — and buying Top 10 Sources. In its latest incarnation, the site had added community features and automated guides for television news, and was looking to include more licensed content. It was part of CBS’ Audience Network and had partnered with TiVo.

MeeVee, which was founded in 2000, has raised some $23.5 million in total funding, including from when it was called MyDTV and made software for set-top boxes. Backers include Bay Area Equity Fund, Defta Partners, FCPR Israel Discovery Fund, Labrador Ventures, Rothschild Ventures, and WaldenVC. We reported back in November that MeeVee was seeking a buyer using Page Mill Partners. In the meantime, neither a buyer nor firm footing have turned up.


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