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Exclusive: Matrix Partners-backed home products marketplace Zimply shuts shop

closedMatrix Partners-backed mobile marketplace for home décor and interior designing products, Zimply, has shut down its operations, a person familiar with the development told VCCircle.

The website and app of the startup are also no longer accessible. The company went through multiple pivots before finally pulling the plug, the person cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

It couldn’t be ascertained when exactly the startup, run by Bitnomix Technologies Pvt. Ltd, closed its operations. However, one of the co-founders, Karan Baweja, left the company in September last year, according to his LinkedIn profile. Baweja is now working as a mobile product consultant at Theophile Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Another co-founder, Viraj Verma, left the organisation in March this year while the third co-founder, Ishaan Bhola, quit Zimply in February.

Zimply was one of the startups that were blacklisted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) after they withdrew or deferred job offers to students from the premier engineering institutes. It had offered jobs to five IIT-Guwahati students but had later withdrawn all the offers, according to The Economic Times .

According to information available with VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, the firm had raised around $510,000 (Rs 3.39 crore) last year from Matrix Partners and angel investors including Sahil Barua, co-founder of logistics startup Delhivery, and Pranay Chulet, co-founder and CEO of online classifieds company Quikr.

Email queries sent to Matrix Partners, Barua and Chulet on the development did not elicit any response till the time of filing this report.

The startup, was founded by three IIT alumni — Baweja, Verma Ishaan Bhola and Verma in 2014. It allowed users to shop online for home and decoration products including furniture, décor and lighting.

Zimply earlier operated under the name HouseJive, and had a business model similar to that of US-based Houzz, providing listings of products and home professionals. It aimed to connect homeowners with design enthusiasts, professionals, retailers and manufacturers.

It later pivoted as an e-retail destination and tried to compete with online furniture sellers such as Pepperfry, Urban Ladder and Fabfurnish.

The shutdown of Zimply further reiterates the fact that startups are fighting for survival as investors turn off the funding tap, putting pressure on startups to cut costs. While startups looking for their first cheque from investors haven’t been impacted as much, mid- and late-stage venture capital funding has slowed down this year as investors become cautious about pegging ever-higher valuations on firms without a clear visibility on revenue or operational growth.

According to market research firm TechNavio, the online home décor market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 50.42% between 2014 and 2019.

Earlier this month, Mumbai-based Home Craft Online Pvt. Ltd, which operates home décor portal BedBathMore.com had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a group of investors, including German internet firm Rocket Internet.

Last month, Kishore Biyani-led Future Group acquired furniture and home furnishings portal FabFurnish.com in an all-cash deal, which was the retail conglomerate’s first e-commerce acquisition.

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