B2B e-commerce startup Zumi is shutting down due to its inability to raise the funding necessary to sustain its operations. This close will see the company lay off its team of 150 people who have previous work experience from companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Twiga, and Jumia.
CEO and co-founder of the Kenya-based startup, William McCarren, announced the company’s close in a Linkedin post saying, “ The current macro environment has made fundraising extremely difficult, and unfortunately, our business was not able to achieve sustainability in time to survive.” Zumi, which McCaren once told FlipAfrica is on a mission to revolutionise Africa’s $36 billion apparel market, will now bow out of the scene to competitors like MarketForce and Sabi.
This is not Zumi’s first shutdown
Zumi began as a women-focused digital magazine in 2016 but it shut down shortly after disclosing its plans to pivot to e-commerce. The digital media startup had reportedly received about $250,000 in funding from UAE-based Majlis investment and a few other investors. However, Zumi was struggling with low digital advertisement revenue, a problem common among digital media businesses. Low on funding, it had to shut down.
Zumi’s shop didn’t remain closed for too long as it later found its way back to the business scene in 2020 as a B2B e-commerce company that empowers retailers and suppliers, especially in the apparel business. Zumi handled everything; it facilitated the online sale/purchase of the product, delivery and payment. With the Zumi app or through a Zumi agent, customers could place orders from suppliers or retailers. Through its partnership with logistics services, Zumi also made sure that the goods were delivered to the buyer who then paid upon delivery.
Zumi gained traction and received more funding over the years from Masha Ventures and other investors like Zephyr Management. According to Crunchbase, Zumi has received disclosed investments of about $970,000 since its inception in 2016. Before its shutdown, Zuri achieved over $20 million in sales and acquired 5,000 customers.
In his Linkedin post, McCarren expressed his gratitude to his 4 co-founders Mohamed Nuur, Sabrina Dorman, Tomas Rosales, and Eric Njogu, for their partnership and support in what he calls a wild ride.
This shutdown adds to the list of Kenyan startups that have shut down citing macroeconomic problems. Kenyan startups Kune Foods, Notify Logistics, and WeFarm, all shut down last year.