Three years after New Hope-based The Meet Group’s $500 million acquisition, its German parent company is shedding at least some portion of its Philly-area staff amid a “reorganization.”
The reorg includes the exit of Meet Group co-CEO Geoff Cook, who founded the Pennsylvania company 18 years ago as myYearbook. Cofounder and SVP of Marketing Catherine Connelly also departed the company.
A statement from the parent company, ParshipMeet Group, said Cook’s parting comes via “mutual terms.” (ParshipMeet Group is the online dating segment of media group ProSiebenSat.1, which bought the Meet Group in 2020 with private equity firm General Atlantic as the NuCom Group.)
Cook founded myYearbook along with two siblings, including Connelly, and rebranded to MeetMe, then The Meet Group. The company become a notable part of the Philadelphia tech scene after launching MeetMe, one of the original social networking sites. It’s also rolled out dating apps like NextDate, a livestreaming dating game, and acquired same-sex dating app Growlr in the last few years.
Cook and Connelly did not immediately reply to Technical.ly’s requests for comment.
The 2020 acquisition made sense for the NuCom Group, which also owns matchmaking platforms eharmony, Parship and Elite Partner: At the time, the companies said the deal would “diversify the revenue streams of both companies and increase their combined international footprint.”
This new reorganization aims for ParshipMeet Group’s brands to “complement each other even better with regards to product, target audiences, user intentions, and territories,” per a statement. The company’s dating apps and its creator economy-focused livestreaming tool, Livebox, are a priority. Along with a new leadership structure, which appoints co-CEO Marc Schachtel as sole head of the company, the reorganization will “streamline” the company’s “organizational set-up, leveraging former redundancies and implementing efficiencies, including personnel costs.”
At the end of last month, the parent company had a global workforce of about 700 people. Of that, about 260 were in the United States, including 230 at The Meet Group.
The company changes include layoffs for The Meet Group employees, though ParshipMeet Group spokesperson Christian Steinhof told Technical.ly the parent company would not be confirming how many were affected.
“All colleagues who are or who might be affected have already been informed over the past few days,” Steinhof said in an email.
The parent company’s statement said the layoffs mostly affected the US operations of the video department. Posts on LinkedIn from former The Meet Group employees show that the layoffs included those in legal and technical roles, too.
In a LinkedIn post, Cook said he was departing after nearly two decades of building the company, and after growing MeetMe “from nothing to millions of active users.”
“This is a team that stands for something. We care about the products we build, we care about the technology we use, we care about the content lines we draw,” he wrote. “I trust you all will keep caring and keep standing for something. You’ll have the same — and hopefully many more — users tomorrow as you did yesterday, and this has always been about the user. So go continue to fight the good fight and continue to do great things. This company is great because of you. It will stay great because of you.”
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