Zirtual is hitting the pause button.
The personal assistant startup sent an email to customers saying that it’s “pausing all operations” starting today: “Due to a combination of market circumstances and financial constraints we must re-organize our current structure if we are to successfully serve you in the future.”
Zirtual opened in January 2014 after an invite-only period that lasted for several years. It customers with remote assistants who can perform tasks like online research, answering emails and scheduling. The current pricing started at $399 per month.
Back in April, the company said that it had more than 400 Zirtual Assistants — and they were full-time employees with benefits.
Zirtual investors include Tony Hsieh, VegasTechFund and Mayfield Fund. The startup recently raised $650,000 (of a potential $3 million round) in debt financing, according to a regulatory filing.
The past month has seen other companies stumble in the on-demand/convenience economy — home cleaning startup Homejoy shut down, while organic food delivery service Good Eggs shuttered all operations outside of San Francisco.
We’ve reached out Zirtual to find out more about what this means for the company’s customers and assistants, and we’ll update this post if we hear back. The email does say that customers can contact their assistants directly by messaging firstname.lastname@example.org. (In fact, we’ve already heard about one person who’s offered their assistant a job.)
Update: Traci Hare said she and other Zirtual Assistants only found out about the news this morning:
I, like 500 other Zirtual employees, was blindsided by an email from CEO Maren Kate Donovan that said the company was no longer in business as of Friday evening. Many of us are stay-at-home parents that tried hard to juggle work-life balance so we could be with our kids during the day and not have to put them in daycare. We have no idea if we will get paid for the last week of work, if we still have health insurance, or if we even qualify for unemployment. To say we were left in the lurch is an understatement.