What's really going on at Zy.com

It's a pity

On Friday we tried to find out what on earth was happening Zy.com. An ad had appeared in the FT saying it was in the hands of administrators and the site was up for sale. Five hours and about 15 phone calls later we were none the wiser as no one would talk. We pointed this out in an article.

Well, it's Monday and sure enough we get a phone call from Zy.com co-founder Nova Fisher and also from the administrators RSM Robson Rhodes. We believe Nova when she says she never got a message that we had called and actually was in a meeting, we're not sure we believe the administrators when they say the same thing.

However, that's by the bye. Yes, Zy.com has run out of money. And the reason is because a load of investors pulled out of the last minute, quoting "market conditions". Nova assures us that a second round of funding was all go (the first was for £5 million almost exactly a year ago). The same investors as previously (including some big boys, it would seem) said they would stump up more cash and even told the bank so. Then, in an instant, they changed their minds and Zy.com was left teetering on a cliff. Robson Rhodes corroborates that the announcement was unexpected and the first it knew about it was late on the Friday before Christmas.

Zy.com is a great site and does 14 million hits a month. It allows people to design Web sites online using some nice technology, which it calls modules. It was running at a £200,000 per month loss, mostly due to software development.

Nova says that fortunately they managed to save one aspect of the site - Zymodules - sold for an undisclosed figure to Xira.com, which is privately owned by the other co-founder's sister. But Zy.com is gone and up for sale to the highest bidder. Robson Rhodes reckons it has a hot property on its hands and we're tempted to agree - it will continue running the site until it is bought. The money will go to creditors, with a flat fee to Robson Rhodes.

Meanwhile, Nova and Charles Moir will continue to work for Zymodules. The ISP wholly owned by Nova, ZyNet ltd, which owns a load of other Zy-based URLs is unaffected and legally entirely separate from Zy.com, however Nova did admit to being "very sad" that Zy.com had disappeared so quickly. "I'm still not over it," she told us. ®

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