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Kenyan e-commerce startup Zumi is shutting down


Zumi, a Kenyan B2B e-commerce marketplace connecting retailers of non-food products to suppliers is reportedly closing shop after failing to raise funding.

The news was announced by CEO and co-founder William McCarren in a LinkedIn post earlier this week.

“The current macro environment has made fundraising extremely difficult, and unfortunately, our business was not able to achieve sustainability in time to survive,” McLaren wrote.

In the blog post, the CEO said that the company had achieved more than $20m in sales, and acquired 5,000 loyal customers. The closure of the company means they will have to let go of 150 employees. Zumi started off as a magazine in 2016 but later pivoted into an e-commerce platform for apparel.

“Building businesses in emerging markets requires a special blend of ambition, grit, and craziness, and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience,” the CEO admitted, without directly revealing why they chose to wind down the business.

Back when Zumi was still a digital magazine, it had reportedly raised $250,000 in funding from UAE-based Majlis investment and a few other investors. However, after struggling to get advertisement revenue, the company shut down and pivoted into e-commerce.

They would resume business in 2020 through the Covid-19 season. Their business model was such that Zumi facilitated everything. From online sale/purchases to delivery and payment, the startup aggregated on its app and its agents to make it happen. Deliveries were done through its logistics partners.

The company has reportedly raised about $970,000 since its inception. However, it’s clear that there is no turning back, with the CEO stating that he will be “taking some time to reflect on the lessons learned and what I can do differently in the next business.”

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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