Big Cabal Media, the parent company of TechCabal, Zikoko and Citizen, has cut its workforce by 19% across its business units. The company said the cuts are unrelated to specific performance issues within those units but cited harsh market conditions despite significant progress made this year.
Across three publications, Big Cabal Media grew audiences, delivered excellent editorial content and covered the Nigerian elections in real-time. It also delivered Hertitude, an event that drew over 2,200 women to one of the most exciting festivals in the country. In the first half of 2023, Big Cabal saw record numbers across legacy publications and increased resonance and prominence with audiences for its relatively newer publications.
Per internal communication, Big Cabal grew revenue by 180% year-on-year by the end of H1, significant growth that still did not match its budgetary expectations. Despite its progress, the company still had to deal with global and national economic realities: a funding downturn across the continent and a Nigerian economic slowdown caused by a botched currency redesign and elections. June’s currency devaluation also changed revenue projections for many Nigerian venture-backed startups.
In a note to outgoing employees, Tomiwa Aladekomo, Big Cabal’s CEO, said, “I’d like to thank you all for your stellar work at Big Cabal. Our work has real impact and value, and I’m proud of the incredible people who make it happen. Today’s decision isn’t pleasant, but those leaving us can take pride in their work and their impact. For those of us who remain, know that we are as committed as ever to building one of the most important media businesses on the continent. That mission continues, and you can be proud to contribute to it.”
According to Big Cabal, everyone affected by today’s cuts will receive their salaries for August and September. An excerpt of internal communication to staff said, “This is a challenging decision in a year that has tested us immeasurably, and we empathize with the talented employees affected by this decision. For those leaving, we appreciate the hours and backbreaking work you’ve put in to move our mission forward.”
One of the most significant effects of the workforce cuts is the downscaling of Citizen, the company’s relatively new publication on governance and politics. “In a different business environment, we intended for Citizen to have 12-18 months to figure out sustained revenue streams,” Big Cabal shared in company-wide communications. As part of efforts to soften the impact of the cuts, some team members will be moved to units with a strategic business focus for H2. Big Cabal will also recommend the outgoing employees to other businesses, writing letters of recommendation and assisting during the transition period.
Big Cabal will renew its focus on becoming a more efficient and self-sustaining business by 2024. It will double down on TechCabal and TechCabal insights while building a stronger commercial base for Zikoko.