Zirtual – What Happened To The Startup?

In case you missed it, the startup/tech community has been buzzing the past few days because of a company called Zirtual. The startup, based and focused in the U.S only, is a virtual-assistant company, that connects busy startups and individuals alike, with virtual assistants – helping them with all sorts of tasks such as: scheduling meetings, booking flights, and online research. Initially, the startup seemed to be a hit, eventually getting $5.5 million in total funding.

Zirtual Screen Shot

Screen Shot from Zirtual.com

It appeared all was well with the company, and its Co-Founder and CEO Maren Kate Donovan, was getting nothing but praise for her company’s momentum. However, a couple of days ago on Tuesday, August 11th 2015 – there came a big announcement. Zirtual would be selling to Startups.co – as they couldn’t secure an additional round of funding. Basically, what Donovan was saying was that – Zirtual is broke, and needed to shutdown. The startup/tech community’s reaction: WTF when did this happen? How? What on earth? What was Donovan doing this whole time? Questions were lingering everywhere, as reporters and startup founders alike were trying to figure out how Zirtual collapsed so easily. All fingers were pointing towards Donovan, as she was the leader at the helm of her company.

However, Donovan decided to speak to Fortune to tell her side of the story – of what ‘really went down.’ – (I’ve linked the article for those who want to read it in full). In an interview conducted by Leigh Gallagher, Donovan simply said the following:

  1. We needed a CFO
  2. We tried to do the financials ourselves
  3. We went to the Board to seek an outside financial consultant
  4. We double-checked the consultants projections and he was wrong
  5. We wish we had a Board to go to……

Basically, to sum up her side of the story –

“the numbers were just completely fucked.” – Donovan

The entire tech community was questioning Donovan’s side. I think some are still trying to figure out what really went down. Twitter was a buzz the past few days, as many in the tech/startup industry – from founders and employees, to VCs and mentors alike, were all chiming in on the situation. It’s a shame to see a startup go down, but this proves to be a lesson for others. I only hope Donovan feels the same, and can use this experience for her next endeavor. This will only make her strong in my opinion.

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