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UK News Harry and Meghan 'held talks with Quibi a YEAR before Megxit'

06:05  03 april  2021
06:05  03 april  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Jeffrey Katzenberg, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle sitting at a table: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were in talks with a £1.3billion-backed US company a year before they stepped down as senior royals, it was reported last night.

Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, are said to have had multiple meetings with Quibi, a now-defunct video streaming service, from early 2019 until after they quit as working royals last January.

Prince Harry returned from the landmark Sandringham summit to meet executives from the American company in London, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A deal for him to provide content on the platform reportedly reached advanced stages but ultimately fell through as the app failed to take off, according to the paper.

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Vanity Fair also claimed the couple had been approached by Quibi founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg and its CEO Meg Whitman.

Despite this, during the Sussexes' bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey they claimed they 'didn't have a plan' when leaving the Royal family.

Harry told Oprah: “The Netflix and the Spotify [deals]… that was never part of the plan.'

'We didn’t have a plan. That was suggested by somebody else by the point of where my family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford… afford security for us.'

Prince Harry et al. sitting on a bench: Defense: Prince Harry says he 'had' to make a multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix because he was 'cut off' by the royal family at the start of 2020 and needed money to pay for security © Provided by Daily Mail Defense: Prince Harry says he 'had' to make a multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix because he was 'cut off' by the royal family at the start of 2020 and needed money to pay for security

Yesterday, a relaxed Duke of Sussex, 36, wore his baseball cap backwards and sported a pair of sunglasses while frolicking in the sea and throwing a tennis ball for his black labrador Pula on Friday.

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The soon to be father-of-two went barefoot for the outing in Santa Barbara, California, where he wore a white t-shirt with blue cargo shorts and carried a pair of trainers as he walked along the sand.

On reports the Duke was in talks with Quibi, a source told the Telegraph: 'There were well-developed proposals in place with Quibi from early 2019.'

Conference calls were held to discuss a potential series of 10-minute videos and the Duke attended his final meeting with executives in London last January, reports claimed.

The pandemic put plans on hold and by September - when the royal couple signed a deal with Netflix - the streaming service was on the verge of shutting down.

Last month the Duke told Ms Winfrey the couple 'did not have a plan' when they made the decision to move to the US.

He said: 'The Netflix and the Spotify, they're all... that was never part of the plan.'

'Because you didn't have a plan?' prompted Ms Winfrey. 'We didn't have a plan,' replied the Duchess, with the Duke adding: 'We didn't have a plan.

Prince Harry flips his baseball cap backwards for seaside stroll in LA

  Prince Harry flips his baseball cap backwards for seaside stroll in LA A relaxed Duke of Sussex, 36, wore his baseball cap backwards and sported a pair of sunglasses while frolicking in the sea and throwing a tennis ball for his dog in California on Friday.A relaxed Duke of Sussex, 36, wore his baseball cap backwards and sported a pair of sunglasses while frolicking in the sea and throwing a tennis ball for his black labrador Pula on Friday.

'That was suggested by somebody else by the point of where my family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford . . . afford security for us.'

Yet a year before they left the UK the Duke and Duchess were reportedly speaking with senior executives at the £1.3billion app that was expected to be the next big rival to YouTube.

logo, company name © Provided by Daily Mail

Sources claimed they met with its founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and its CEO Meg Whitman, a former president of eBay and Hewlett Packard.

Katzenberg, who is worth more than $900 million, spent more than a decade as chairman of Walt Disney Studios before co-founding DreamWorks Animation with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.

He left his position as chief executive of the studio in 2016 to lead the media and tech company WndrCo, before founding Quibi in 2018.

The app, focused on bite-sized consumption and designed for those who only want to digest five-to-ten-minute episodes at a time, launched to a disastrous reception last April.

It quickly dropped to 125th place in the rankings of free iPhone apps and was forced to scramble to allow for TV streaming.

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Katzenberg blamed the app’s lackluster start on the coronavirus pandemic.

Its launch came as millions of people were under a stay-at-home order and confined to their houses, altering the way in which they may have streamed content during the day, and eliminating many of the 'in-between moments' - such as commuting - in which the company believed users would want to stream their shows.

Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen sitting at a table: Katzenberg spent more than a decade as chairman of Walt Disney Studios before co-founding DreamWorks Animation with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen © Provided by Daily Mail Katzenberg spent more than a decade as chairman of Walt Disney Studios before co-founding DreamWorks Animation with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen

Katzenberg and Quibi co-founder Ms Whitman had raised $1.8billion in funding for the app from Hollywood studios such as Disney and Warner Media as well as Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

They'd also recruited high-profile names such as Chrissy Tegan, LeBron James, Jennifer Lopez and Idris Elba for their new TV shows and movies, promising up to three hours of original content daily.

Quibi was predicted to sign up 7.4 million subscribers in its first year which would create $250million in revenue. One source told WSJ that the company was projected to finish 2020 with less than just two million paying subscribers.

The app launched April 6 with a 90-day free trial offer in the United States and Canada. It otherwise costs $4.99 a month for an ad-supported version and $7.99 a month for ad-free viewing.

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While 1.75million subscribed within the first week, Quibi had fallen out of the top 50 most downloaded iPhone apps a week after launch.

The newspaper also reported Meghan Markle continued to consult her US-based advisors, including her lawyer Rick Genow, business manager Andrew Meyer, talent agent Nick Collins and PR Keleigh Thomas Morgan, while she was a working royal.

This frustrated aides in Britain, who found it difficult to keep track of commercial deals the couple were planning.

The Duke had his last meeting with Quibi at Soho Works in London's White City, in January last year.

Plans for a sustainable tourism project with the platform fell through as the app's popularity began to fall a week after it was released in April 2020.

By late last year it was shut down due to a lack of interest and profitability.

The Duke and Duchess had already signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix and three months later would announce a deal to make podcasts for Spotify.

Prince Harry announced his first job in the corporate world last month by revealing he had taken an executive position at Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp that claims to be worth $1.7billion.

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As 'chief impact officer' at mental health services business BetterUp, he will help promote an app used by corporate giants including Hilton, Facebook and oil firm Chevron to improve the wellbeing of their staff.

The company's chief executive Alexi Robichaux has declined to say how much the royal will be paid, although similar roles at other California firms would command six or seven-figure salaries.


Gallery: Prince Harry's two new jobs and other working royals (Lovemoney)

Prince Harry wearing a suit and tie: Prince Harry has got a new job, his first since he and wife Meghan Markle stepped down from the British royal family. Harry has been appointed Chief Impact Officer at Silicon Valley start-up BetterUp, which provides coaching, advice and support for both businesses and organisations. The company has just completed a $125 million (£90.7m) funding round, and it's currently valued at $1.73 billion (£1.26bn). Click or scroll through for more on Harry's new job...

The Prince has also taken a role at think tank The Aspen Institute, where he will serve as a 'commissioner' on the organisation's 'Commission on Information Disorder'.

Prince Harry could be working in the US on a visa designed for people with 'extraordinary ability', experts revealed last week.

But he and Meghan have already scheduled some time off from the roles, with a source announcing that they 'will both take some proper time off,' after the birth of their daughter in the summer.

Prince Harry's paternity leave would mean temporarily stepping back from his multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify - which he told Oprah Winfrey he was persuaded to sign when he was 'literally cut off financially' from the Royal Family.

Prince Harry wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Harry hinted that other royals were jealous of Meghan's popularity during their own tour of Australia in 2018 © Provided by Daily Mail Harry hinted that other royals were jealous of Meghan's popularity during their own tour of Australia in 2018

'It will be the summer and they want to make sure they both take their leave so they have some real quality time together once the baby arrives,' a source close to the couple told Vanity Fair's Katie Nicholl.

It comes after a royal expert claimed palace officials will be watching Prince Harry's new roles 'very, very closely' to see if they go against his agreement with The Queen that he would not trade off his Royal status.

Prince Harry's statement on the website of the company he joined

Harry's statement on the BetterUp website … and how his royal title was displayed with a black and white photograph.

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I am really excited to be joining the BetterUp team and community! Thanks for having me.

I firmly believe that focusing on and prioritising our mental fitness unlocks potential and opportunity that we never knew we had inside of us.

As the Royal Marine Commandos say, 'It's a state of mind.' What I've learned in my own life is the power of transforming pain into purpose.

During my decade in the military, I learned that we don't just need to build physical resilience, but also mental resilience. When I first met Alexi [Robichaux], we instantly recognised a shared passion for helping others realise their full potential.

As our conversations continued, it became even more clear that we hold a similar philosophy on mental health: that we must proactively take care of our minds. I've personally found working with a BetterUp coach to be invaluable. And because we believe in strengthening our own mental fitness, our entire Archewell team also has access to BetterUp coaching.

As BetterUp's first Chief Impact Officer, my goal is to lift up critical dialogues around mental health, build supportive and compassionate communities, and foster an environment for honest and vulnerable conversations. And my hope is to help people develop their inner strength, resilience, and confidence.

Speaking on last week's edition of True Royalty TV's weekly programme The Royal Beat, Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers discussed Prince Harry's new role as Chief Impact Officer at US coaching firm BetterUP.

'There is the argument that if he is 'Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex' in all the published materials for [the firm], is that trading off the royal brand which they said they wouldn't do to uphold the values of The Queen?' he explains.

'So it is very debatable at the moment. People at the Palace will be watching this very, very closely.'

The Duke hit the ground running in his new job on March 25 by posting a motivational quote on the Instagram account of BetterUp, the life coaching firm he has joined as 'chief impact officer'.

He wrote: 'Self-optimisation is not about fixing something that's broken. It's about becoming the best version of ourselves with whatever life throws at us.'

Prince Harry started his first proper job at a Californian startup dubbed life coaching Tinder for millennials in January - but they waited to announce it until after his Oprah interview was watched by tens of millions around the globe, it has been reported.

The Duke of Sussex has been appointed 'chief impact officer' at mental health services business BetterUp by CEO Alexi Robichaux, who says his royal employee insists on everyone calling him Harry because they are all 'partners' in the business valued at $1.7billion.

The Duke will help to promote a wellness app used by corporate giants including NASA, confectionery giant Mars and oil firm Chevron to improve the wellbeing of their staff.

Harry, whose new role at the firm could command a seven-figure salary plus share options, was introduced to the BetterUp co-founder through an unnamed mutual friend last year, and after they weighed up 'four buckets of opportunities', they agreed to start working together, Mr Robichaux said.

He said: 'He's been in the role for a couple of months, and we're so excited to share the news with the world. We're partners here, he likes to be called Harry in the workplace, so we just address him as Harry.'

Brand expert Mark Bukowski told MailOnline that timing the announcement for after the Oprah interview generated free publicity worth millions of dollars for the startup, and could help Harry cash in if he has shares in the business.

Tech-CEO Mr Robichaux, who likes to quote Einstein and Marcus Aurelius and once gave a presentation on his business to leading scientists and academics while wearing a spacesuit, told Sky News: 'We were just so impressed, and really I think there was such a natural chemistry and synergy around the insights and the contributions he can make creatively to BetterUp in ensuring that we achieve our mission.

'Bigger than commercial success, this is about global impact, and so as we crafted the role together, those four buckets of opportunities, we came to the title 'chief impact officer', really denoting that he's focused on our mission and he's focused on ensuring that we're doing everything we can to achieve our mission on a bigger and larger and grander scale to impact the lives of more people.'

He added: 'He's also helping to work on everything from product design to product strategy, to co-creating content and the experience for our members and helping with partnerships, like creating some new content for our users related to mental toughness and mental fitness as well.'

Harry's first real job will see him spending time at the firm's San Francisco office - when Covid-19 allows - where the prince can take part in weekly office yoga sessions, beat a punch bag when he's frustrated or pet the office dog 'Gordo' when he's concerned about his 'wellness'. He can also bring his dogs Guy and Pula to work if he likes.

BetterUp also throws regular onesie-fancy dress parties for staff, including at Halloween - but if this gets too much for the prince he can relax using some of his five 'inner work' days a year - on top of his holiday days - to focus on 'personalised growth' by hiking in California, reading books or doing volunteer work.

His new office has sofas to flop on during a hard day and games to play when staff need a break, with one employee, Lily, saying the office was designed for both work and play. She said: 'When one of us is flourishing, the whole team gets stronger. So every decision we made about what to put in the office had those baselines in mind'.

Harry's CEO, a devout Christian fluent in Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew, said he had experimented with therapy and life coaching in his twenties and the idea for BetterUp came to him while on a pilgrimage of self-reflection to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. His mantra is: 'I don't believe technology is the enemy when used right.'

Does a child born in America get automatic US citizenship?

Any child born in the US gets automatic US citizenship under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

This states: 'All persons born or naturalised in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.'

The only exception applies to the 'jurisdiction' element, which means children born to diplomats and other recognised government officials from foreign countries don't get US citizenship if born on American soil.

Anyone born in the US gets citizenship for their life unless they make an action to give it up such as filing an oath.

If born in the US, Meghan and Prince Harry's baby will be entitled to US citizenship as an automatic right. She will also be able to run for US presidency if born on US soil.

The baby will also be entitled to a British passport through Harry.

Meanwhile, it was revealed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'will both take some proper time off,' after the birth of their daughter in the summer, a source claimed.

Prince Harry's paternity leave would mean temporarily stepping back from his multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify - which he told Oprah Winfrey he was persuaded to sign when he was 'literally cut off financially' from the Royal Family.

'It will be the summer and they want to make sure they both take their leave so they have some real quality time together once the baby arrives,' a source close to the couple told Vanity Fair's Katie Nicholl.

During the bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview, the Duke of Sussex told how he stopped receiving income from Buckingham Palace shortly after he and Meghan announced their wish to step back as senior royals and spend time overseas.

Harry added that he would have been unable to pay for security to protect his family if it were not for money left to him by his mother Princess Diana in her will.

The couple raised eyebrows when they announced in September a deal worth an estimated £75million to make programmes for Netflix – despite citing lack of privacy as a reason for quitting the Royal Family.

In December, the couple announced a lucrative deal with audio streaming giant Spotify.

The deal, estimated to be worth around £18million, will see Harry and Meghan make podcasts for Spotify's 320million monthly users to help listeners 'connect to one another without distraction.'

Asked about the money-spinning partnerships, Harry told Miss Winfrey they were 'never part of the plan' but were suggested by a 'friend' when they feared financial issues.

He insisted: 'My family literally cut me off financially and I had to afford security for us.

'But I've got what my mum left me and, without that, we would not have been able to do this.' He added of the issues he has faced: 'I think she saw it coming.'

Prince Harry's paternity leave was cut short when Archie was born on 6 May 2019, because just three days after the birth the royal flew to the Netherlands to launch next year's Invictus Games.

There, the royal was showered with presents meant for his infant son, donned a special 'I am daddy' jacket during a bike ride, and was given a baby grow by Princess Margriet, before being met with laughter from the crowd after modelling it against his own body.

Meanwhile, throughout her pregnancy and after the birth, Meghan, 39, was busy editing an issue of British Vogue and designing a capsule collection for Smart Works.

It comes after an insider claimed Meghan Markle is planning to give birth to her second child with Prince Harry in the comfort of their stunning $14.7m Santa Barbara property in Montecito, California.

Speaking about Meghan's home birthing plans, a source told Page Six: 'She has a beautiful home in California, it's a beautiful setting to give birth to her baby girl.'

If born in America, Meghan and Prince Harry's baby will be entitled to US citizenship as an automatic right, and will have dual UK citizenship through her father. She will also be able to run for US presidency if born on US soil.

a person standing next to a tree: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'will both take some proper time off,' after the birth of their daughter in the summer, a source has claimed. Pictured, with son Archie © Provided by Daily Mail Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 'will both take some proper time off,' after the birth of their daughter in the summer, a source has claimed. Pictured, with son Archie

The source also said that Meghan initially planned to have a home birth for Archie, now 22 months old, but was unable to do so because her son was a week overdue.

Instead of welcoming her first child with an all-female midwife team at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, the mother was taken to London's private Portland hospital, where she gave birth to Archie on May 6, 2019.

The source explained: 'Meghan's plan was to have a home birth with Archie, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans.'

The couple revealed during their bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview earlier this month that their second child is a girl and is due to be born this summer.

Prince Harry joined his wife for the second half of the much-anticipated interview on CBS to reveal the news, excitedly telling the chat show host: 'It's a girl.'

He said his first thought was 'amazing' when he learned they were having a girl, adding: 'Just grateful. To have any child, any one or any two, would have been amazing.

Prince Harry et al. that are sitting on a bench: The married couple revealed during their bombshell Oprah interview (pictured) that their second child is a girl and is due to be born this summer © Provided by Daily Mail The married couple revealed during their bombshell Oprah interview (pictured) that their second child is a girl and is due to be born this summer

'But to have a boy and then a girl, I mean what more can you ask for? Now we've got our family, we got the four of us and our two dogs.'

While the couple made no hint of what their daughter's name would be, fans began speculating that they will call her Diana, after Harry's late mother.

Asked if they were 'done' with two children, Harry said 'done' and Meghan said: 'Two is it.'

The girl will not be entitled, at this stage, to be an HRH nor a princess title due to rules set out more than 100 years ago by George V - but this is the same as what would have happened before they stepped back from senior duties.

The baby is entitled to be a Lady, but Harry and Meghan will again opt to style their second-born a plain Miss, with the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

a tree with a mountain in the background: The Duchess of Sussex is due to welcome her second child with the Duke of Sussex in the summer, and it is thought she hopes to have a home birth at their stunning $14.7m Santa Barbara property in Montecito, California (pictured) © Provided by Daily Mail The Duchess of Sussex is due to welcome her second child with the Duke of Sussex in the summer, and it is thought she hopes to have a home birth at their stunning $14.7m Santa Barbara property in Montecito, California (pictured)

Harry and Meghan first announced on Valentine's Day that they are expecting a second child, saying they were 'overjoyed' at the pregnancy.

Their news echoed Princess Diana's announcement of her own second child - Prince Harry - which was printed in newspapers on Valentine's Day in 1984.

A spokesman for the couple said at the time: 'We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.'

The announcement came soon after Meghan suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage last year.

After the pregnancy announcement, Bookies quickly started taking odds on what the name of Archie's sibling could be, with Diana coming in first position before Alexandra, Florence, Arabella and Elizabeth.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes said at the time that the chances of Harry and Meghan naming their girl Diana were four to one.

The new Sussex baby will become eighth in line to the throne, after Prince Charles, Prince William, William's three children George, Charlotte and Louis, Prince Harry and Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

Prince Harry retained his place in the line of succession despite his decision to quit royal life.

Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie left Britain for Canada in November 2019 before moving to America, meaning Archie has not seen any of his British relatives since he was six months old.'

Silicon Valley start-up that has hired Prince Harry

What is BetterUp?

BetterUp describes itself as company that 'combines coaching with dynamic and personalized digital experiences to accelerate members' long-term professional development and drive personal growth'.

In practice, they sell executive coaching and therapy services to individuals and large companies.

It employs clinical therapists and 'executive coaches' on contract to provide those services.

One blue chip company that recently employed their services was charged $2,000 for six months of unlimited coaching for each employee.

Those who sign up for their app can receive one-to-one video therapy or coaching through the app.

Who was it founded by?

It was founded by two USC graduates Alexi Robichaux and Eduardo Medina. Robinchaux grew up in Dallas, Texas, and has described growing up with his father a biblical linguist who translates from Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. His mother is an immigrant from Greece who was an executive assistant at Texas Instruments. In high school he started a non-profit called Youth Leadership for America.

Medina is also a USC graduate who worked at management consultant companies Altamont Capital Partners and Bain & Company before starting BetterUp.

How big is BetterUp?

BetterUp says it has raised a total of $300m in venture capital, and claims to be valued at $1.7bn. It has not reported any corporate results or profits.

Last year, Robinchaux told Inc that the company had 200 employees and more than a thousand therapists and executive coaches on contract.

Its investors include snowboarder Sean White, NBA player Pau Gasol and a series of venture capital companies including frims called ICONIQ Growth, Lightspeed Venture and Mubadala Capital.

Who has invested in BetterUp?

The company lists 10 Silicon Valley venture capital companies among its investors, including the UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Capital.

It also names Olympic snowboarder Shaun White and NBA player Pau Gasol as individual investors.

Read more

Time of grief amid troubles for royals and nation .
The world continued to battle coronavirus in 2021.After the turmoil of 2020, 2021 began with a third national lockdown in England as the Covid-19 deaths continued to rise across the UK and around the world.

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