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Modsy, an interior design startup founded by a Google Ventures partner, is shutting down its design business and splitting ties with designers

June 29, 2022, 10:00 PM UTC

As the markets continue to plunge and venture investors pull back, a digital interior design startup co-founded by an ex-Google Ventures partner is parting ways with its designers and notified customers that it is no longer offering design services.

The seven-year-old startup, Modsy, had used 3D modeling for customers to design and furnish their homes starting at $159 per room, and it had launched a digital renovation service just earlier this year. In total, the company had raised nearly $73 million in equity from investors including GV, TCV, Norwest Venture Partners, and Comcast Ventures, according to PitchBook. 

Now the company has removed most of its pages from the website—but has introduced a new interior design software in beta it is calling “Modsy Pro.” 

“We unfortunately are no longer offering design and e-commerce services,” says a customer service message sent by a Modsy representative that was obtained by Fortune, which notes that the company will ensure all existing merchandising orders are fulfilled. Later on in the message: “We know this is disappointing but this was a sudden and unexpected change for the business and we apologize for the inconvenience.” One of the company’s designers, who Fortune granted anonymity due to their fear of legal retribution, says that the company has terminated contracts with approximately 250 designers, and says that they were given only three days notice. Designers were caught off guard and “confused as to why we weren’t informed earlier,” they said. 

“We are all very much in the dark regarding any specifics,” the designer said. “We are truly embarrassed that our names have ever been associated with this company.”

When reached via email, Modsy CEO Shanna Tellerman told Fortune that “we intend to fulfill customer merchandise orders and we are working through a process for our design service customers.” She added: “I hope that for many people, the Modsy story will not be defined by this turn of events, and we are truly sorry.  We would like to thank our team, our designers, and our customers.” Tellerman did not respond to a request for comment as to the new SaaS offering, whether the company is shutting down, nor provide any detail or information about the company’s separation with designers. 

Investors, some of whom are Modsy board members, at TCV, Advance Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Comcast Ventures declined or didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

Modsy, which was co-founded by Tellerman in 2015, had launched with $2.75 million in early funding from Google Ventures, where Tellerman had previously worked as a partner, as well as Ammunition Design Group and other investors, and would raise more than $70 million more over the next four years. Since then, Modsy had raised mezzanine financing and taken out two loans, per PitchBook, which estimates that the company had grown to approximately 341 staffers, as of the end of May. Modsy likely benefitted from a surge in e-design during the pandemic. The company said in October it was experiencing “soaring customer demand” and that sales of its “Luxe experience,” a collaboration with one of Modsy’s top tier designers at a cost of $499 per room, had increased 275% year-over-year.

As the startup scaled, Modsy had faced criticism online over its product recommendations and quality, as well as how it worked with third-party designers. TechCrunch reported that the company was expecting to be acquired, but that the deal had fallen through.

Many private companies have already had to lay off customers, reorganize, or shut down this year as interest rates rise and public tech stocks prices falter. Investors have been warning founders of an impending funding drought and advising founders to plan a long runway of cash in order to stay open. Just in the last month, at least 13,700 startup employees have lost their jobs, per Layoffs.fyi, according to tracked figures, and the actual numbers are likely far higher. The wave has hit startups across many sectors, including digital health care, crypto, food, and transportation.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Entrepreneur First, a London-based investor in early stage founder talent, raised $158 million in Series C funding. Stripe founders Patrick and John Collison, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Certific co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, and WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg invested in the round. 

- ReCode Therapeutics, a Dallas and Menlo Park, Calif.-based genetic medicines company, raised $120 million in Series B extension funding. Leaps by Bayer and AyurMaya led the round and were joined by Amgen Ventures

- Tomorrow Health, a New York-based home-based care company, raised $60 million in Series B  funding. BOND led the round and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, BoxGroup, and Sound Ventures.

- PolySign, a New York, Oakland, and San Francisco-based digital asset infrastructure development company for financial institutions, raised $53 million in Series C funding. Cowen Digital, Brevan Howard, GSR, and others invested in the round. 

- Progcap, a Delhi, India-based financing solutions provider for small and mid-size businesses, raised $40 million in funding. Creation Investments led the round and was joined by investors including Tiger Global Management, Google, and Sequoia Capital India.

- Collage Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based cultural intelligence platform, raised $25 million in funding. Wavecrest Growth Partners led the round and was joined by investor Dennis Ainge

- Tenet, a New York-based EV financing platform, raised $18 million in seed funding. Human Capital and Giant Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including Breyer Capital, Global Founders Capital, Firstminute Capital, and other angels.

- WiredScore, a New York-based real estate certification company, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Beringea led the round and was joined by investors including Cushman & Wakefield, Crow Holdings, Taronga Ventures, Fifth Wall, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Jona Capital

- Helios, a Tel Aviv-based application development platform, raised $5 million in seed funding. Entrée Capital and Amiti VC led the round and were joined by investors including Benny Schnaider, Snyk co-founder Guy Podjarny, Skycure co-founders Adi Sharabani and Yair Amit, and New Relic’s Guy Fighel.   

- Vibrant, a Copenhagen-based android-based application for receiving mobile payments, raised €4 million ($4.18 million) in seed funding. byFounders led the round and was joined by Luminar Ventures

- Modo Energy, a Birmingham, U.K.-based energy data analytics startup, raised £3.2 million ($3.88 million) in pre-Series A funding. Fred Olsen led the round and was joined by investors including Triple Point Ventures and others. 

PRIVATE EQUITY

- GIP and ADIA acquired a majority stake in VTG Aktiengesellschaft, a Hamburg, Germany-based wagon hire and freight logistics company, for $7.4 billion including debt. 

- Creative Artists Agency acquired ICM Partners, a Los Angeles-based talent agency, from Crestview Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- FloWorks International, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, acquired netMercury, an Austin, Dallas, and Phoenix-based specialty parts and services distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Hamilton Lane acquired a minority stake in CAIS, a New York-based alternative investment platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

EXITS

- FFL Partners acquired Abacus Group, a New York-based financial services-focused IT managed services provider, from WestView Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- WebMD acquired Mercury Healthcare, a Denver-based technology and data analytics company, from Vestar Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

OTHER

- Samsung Display acquired Cynora, a Bruchsal, Germany-based OLED display startup, for about $300 million, according to Bloomberg.

- Blizzard Entertainment, subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, plans to acquire Proletariat, a Boston-based gaming studio, according to VentureBeat. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Riveron acquired Clermont Partners, a Chicago-based ESG focused consultancy firm. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

PEOPLE

- ​​NEA, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital firm, promoted Tiffany Le and Jess Ou to principal.

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