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Zumi: Why Nairobi-based Startup is Shutting Down

The company had raised a total of $920K (Ksh119 million) in funding over 8 rounds

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Nairobi-based fashion startup Zumi is shutting down. The news was confirmed by the startup’s co-founder and CEO William McCarren.

Mclaren attributed the closure to the prevailing economic environment. Employees at the firm are now looking for new jobs, with Zumi offering them recommendations.

The company had raised a total of $920K (Ksh119 million) in funding over 8 rounds. Investors included Echo VC, Seedstars, 4Di Capital and Timon Capital.

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

Zumi’s primary offering was connecting fashion and apparel wholesalers with retailers in a transparent marketplace, while also offering embedded financing.

McCarren highlighted other factors that had affected the business, including the impact of Covid-19.

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“This journey has been the most challenging, yet rewarding experience of my life. We started out as an online magazine in 2016 and pivoted into an e-commerce platform for apparel. We persevered through COVID-19, a ban on apparel imports, and countless near-death experiences. Building businesses in emerging markets requires a special blend of ambition, grit, and craziness, and I’m incredibly grateful for the experience,” he shared.

Zumi was cofounded by experienced e-commerce executives based in Europe and East Africa in 2016. McCarren was previously the head of operations at Jumia.

CTO Mohammed Nuur had worked with Amazon and SpaceX on software. CFO Sabrina Dorman also previously worked for Jumia and INSEAD. CCO Eric Njogu was previously the General Manager of Twiga, while COO Tomas Rosales was previously associated with Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

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