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US digital lifestyle content firm Mode Media shuts down

Samir Arora

Samir Arora

Mode Media Corp, a Silicon Valley-based lifestyle content company founded by Indian-American Samir Arora, has shut down, a media report said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported about its closure on Thursday, citing a company memo to staff.

It’s an abrupt end for a company that had previously cast itself as one of the web’s biggest publishers. Mode Media had raised at least $230 million from investors and was once valued at $1 billion, the report said. It had plans to go public that never materialised. Arora had stepped down as its CEO in April this year.

The company was founded in 2003, and was initially called Glam Media. According to VentureBeat, Mode first gathered a number of fashion, lifestyle and other enthusiast websites, and sold advertising around those sites. Questions surrounded the sustainability of the company’s business, but the company continued to raise money, and pivoted several times.

In 2011, Mode acquired Ning, the social network co-founded by American entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen. In 2013, the company filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public but never went through with an offering.

In April, both Arora and Andreessen left Mode’s board. As per a Re/code report, since then, the company had been run by interim CEO Jack Rotolo, but essentially controlled by Hubert Burda Media, the German company that was Mode’s biggest investor. In June, company president Dan Lagani also left.

Arora was born in New Delhi and studied electrical engineering at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science. He also studied at INSEAD and Harvard Business School, and holds a diploma in sales and marketing from the London Business School.

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