‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down
Female-focused lifestyle network Mode Media officially closed its doors on Thursday after failing in a bid to attract new financing.
The news was not unexpected: the company had been bleeding top execs over the last several months and it laid off 30 employees in July. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The company was named to WSJ’s “Billion Dollar Startup Club” based on its $1 billion valuation following an investment in August 2013. Over the years, it brought in $230 million in funding from investors including Hubert Burda Media, GLG Partners, Accel Partners, DAG Ventures, Walden Venture Capital and Information Capital.
Mode didn’t die due to lack of audience. It attracted 127.4 million unique visitors in the U.S. in May, according to comScore, with curated and original content with titles like “Why the Women From Game of Thrones Kick Serious Ass” and “Moms Who Prove You Can Have It All.”
Based in Brisbane, Ca., Mode Media was founded in 2003 as Project Y, Inc., by a group that included Samir Arora, who served as the company’s CEO until his departure in April 2016. It later changed its name to Glam Media and, in 2014, Mode Media. At its peak, the company had offices in London, Mumbai, Munich, Paris, Shanghai, South Korea, Tokyo and Toronto.
Mode’s demise was telegraphed by a line of top level execs streaming out the door. In addition to Arora (who was replaced by interim CEO Jack Rotolo, previously EVP for content and video sales and operations), Mode lost its president and chief revenue officer Dan Lagani, who left in June to join social publishing startup Diply in the same roles; SVP of sales Kari King, who left in April to join shopping app Shopkick Inc. as VP of national brand sales; and SVP of content creator business development and operations Jennifer Salant, who joined Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) as VP of business development in October 2015.
Mode is not disappearing completely: in a blog post published on Thursday, the social media network Ning, acquired by Mode in 2011, announced that Cyndx LLC had entered into an agreement with Mode to take over its operations.