Retail start-up Shooii in administration just months after launch
Wednesday, July 4, 2012/
Niche online shoe retailer Shooii has plunged into administration, despite only launching in March this year, with a lack of outside investment blamed for the company’s woes.
Shooii is the brainchild of former Footlocker executives David Prince and Mark Campbell. Prior to Footlocker, Prince owned and operated Sportspower on the Gold Coast.
Campbell is a former blogger for StartupSmart. He confirmed yesterday that Shooii has been placed into administration but declined to comment further on the news. Prince also refused to comment.
Administrators from the Brisbane office of SV Partners were appointed on June 29.
In a statement, the administrators said: “Whilst the company successfully raised two smaller rounds of capital, a lack of investor funding has led to cashflow problems and the need to seek advice regarding the company’s continued operations.”
“The administrators have advised today they are trading the company’s business on a limited scale with a view to selling the business during the voluntary administration period.”
“Alternatively the administrators hope to be able to secure the commitment of investors to assist the business through its start-up phase.”
“Dave Prince, one of the company’s directors and founder of Shooii, added he felt the business was in it’s infancy and had the potential to be a strong online player if it had the support of a cornerstone investor.”
“He and his team were passionate about seeing the business plan through to fruition after spending the past year putting the building blocks in place.”
Anne Meagher, one of the administrators, adds: “Given the company had only operated for a couple of months the debts of company were not significant, however without a further capital injection the directors had limited options. Through the voluntary administration process the business has another chance at survival.”
Last month, Prince told StartupSmart he became inspired to launch Shooii after witnessing the huge number of consumers shopping on international ecommerce sites.
“My suspicion was that it was not just about the lure of different products being available from overseas, but also a broader change in consumer purchasing behaviour,” he said.
“I figured there’s room for a youth-focused model.”
Prince said Shooii would focus its efforts on 18 to 25-year-old male and female consumers who “need cool stuff pronto and follow seasonal trends closely”.
Features of the site include 360 degree product view, on foot view and product video demos, access to user-generated reviews, and live help options via Skype, chat or phone.
According to Prince, the most challenging part of starting the business was raising capital.
“Raising capital at Shooii has been the most difficult and time-consuming task. Australian VCs are very risk-averse and we didn’t tick all the investment criteria boxes,” Prince said.
Shooii eventually found funding via the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board, which connects investors with early stage start-ups.
“Having not raised funding before, I wish I’d been more realistic about how much time it would take up and that, short term, it can be a disadvantage,” he said.
“It can slow your progress. You can only go as fast as your bank account will allow.”
Potential investors or purchasers have been encouraged to contact either Greg Pitt or Cara Bartlett of SV Partners on (07) 3310 2000.
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