Sky.Garden, a Kenyan e-commerce startup will not be shutting down after the CEO, Martin Majlund, announced that the company has been acquired by new owners and will continue to operate under new management.
According to Majlund in a LinkedIn statement,
Last month management saw no other options than to file for insolvency in the Danish Holding Company Sky.Garden ApS. Today, I’m happy to announce that we’ve found an acquirer for the IP and the Kenyan company. Sky.Garden will live on with new owners and new management.
Techcrunch had reported that the Amazon-style marketplace for third-party merchants was facing collapse back in September after the startup failed to close a round of financing.
Majlund says that while the startup was facing financial problems and had given employees 30 days’ notice on the 16th of September, it was still in talks with investors and potential buyers in the hope of saving it.
So what happened? Great tech, great people, great (although very volatile) market didn’t make up for bad timing, macro economic contractions & a lot of “slow no’s”. 2022 has been a shitty year running a B2C tech company in East Africa but I’m pleased that we managed to secure the vision of Sky.Garden to live on whilst retaining jobs.
And what a crazy adventure the past 6 years have been. I’ve met 3 Presidents (Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe), a 14 time All NBA Star (The Dirk), the best Japanese footballer in history (Mr. Honda), millionaires and billionaires, crazy scientists, crazy politicians (both who worked with us and against us), crazy founders and a ton of brilliant people all contributing to what Sky.Garden ended up becoming. I lived in 3 countries and my kids got to learn Swahili (some at least). We impacted thousands of businesses and consumers in Kenya and groomed 100+ employees since inception. Some are already working for multinationals such as Microsoft, Google, Meta. And we did it coming from a PowerPoint without ever having set foot on the ground in Africa.
What’s next personally? I’ve got something cooking. Something that solves a real problem. This, however requires a new post. I’ll share more shortly.
As to all my now ex-colleagues at Sky.Garden, thank you for being part of this journey! I have enjoyed (almost) every moment of our ride. James Mwai you’re a Rock Star! And Christian Grubak, you’re truly messed up. Thanks for all the crazy ideas, conversations, pitches and laughs. Would I do it all over again with you? Probably 😉
My final retrospective:
-Fundraising sucks 99 out 100 times. Damn, we’ve pitched the company over and over again. To the wrong investors just finding the journey exotic. To the right investors where timing wasn’t right. But hey; it only takes 1 yes, so f… the 99 no’s.
-Resilience is King. We’ve mentally put Sky.Garden in the grave a handful of times during the 6 years. We’ve never done anything ethically questionable, but we’ve definitely continued where normal, sane people would have stopped. This has secured us another 5,5 years of operations.
-There’s no linear path from A to B. But, there are formulas to succeed and you don’t have to make the same mistakes as other people before you. I now understand why successful startup founders most likely have crashed several companies before succeeding.
-It’s about the Journey – Not the Destination. And I know other startup founders may disagree with me on this one. But for me it has never been about the money. But the people and the process.
See you out there.
Majlund has not yet mentioned the name of the new owners and management.
In 2021, the company raised $4 million to accelerate its growth in Kenya, bringing the total funds raised since inception to $5.8 million.