E-commerce start-up Zumi shuts down, lays off 150 employees

The firm's shutdown will see Zumi lay off its team of 150 people some of who have previous work experience from big companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Twiga, and Jumia. 

Zumi, a Kenyan business-to-business B2B start-up is shutting down.  Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder of the Kenya-based e-commerce startup, William McCarren, announced  via a LinkedIn post that the curtains have come down on the company, citing inability to raise the funding necessary to sustain its operations as its undoing.

The  shutdown will see the platform lay off its team of 150 people some of whom have previous work experience from big companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Twiga, and Jumia.

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

The firm started off in 2016 as a women-focused digital magazine in 2016 but closed shortly as it shifted to e-commerce and later received about $250,000 in funding from United Aran Emirates-based Majlis investment and other investors.

Low on funding, it had to shut down but in 2020 it rebranded to a B2B e-commerce company.

Crunchbase highlighted that the firm had a total funding of $920,000 since its inception.

Full list of investors include: Musha Ventures, Sherpa African Partners, Seedstars, Zephyr Management, Loyal VC and Chandaria Capital.

The CEO said, ” I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished at Zumi- building a marketplace for apparel merchants to secure inventory and financial services, achieving over $20m in sales, and acquiring 5,000 loyal customers.”

Zumi is a B2B online marketplace that connects suppliers and retailers to sell non-food products in a simple, transparent and efficient manner. In addition we provide easy access to credit for both customers and suppliers.

The other four co-founders of the start-up include Mohamed Nuur, Sabrina Dorman, Tomas Rosales and Eric Njogu.

Zumi closure adds to the list of Kenyan startups that have shut down citing macro-economic problems like Kune Foods, Notify Logistics and WeFarm.

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