Wowgo forced to wind up after funding withdrawal

Unilever-backed teenage start-up site Wowgo has ceased trading just months after its much-hyped launch in June this year. Wowgo has been put up for sale.

The site’s launch as a life-style brand aimed at 12-17 year old girls followed a number of “technical delays” which postponed the proposed early-April start date.

The site was backed by investment bank Durlacher, which wrote off its investment in NetImperative earlier this year, and e-incubator Eureka.

A statement issued by Wowgo says: “Having decided that it is unable to continue as an independent entity, Wowgo has ceased trading. In the current market conditions, the company has been unable to raise further funding to continue development of its operations.”

It is believed that stiff competition with other teen-girl sites, including Procter & Gamble’s swizzle.com and the BSkyB and Freeserve-backed MyKindaplace, contributed to the Unilever-backed site’s downfall.

Last month, Unilever announced a joint venture with iVillage to launch Substance.com – a US-based site aimed at the women’s beauty sector (MW October 26).

It is not clear whether the Wowgo staff will be transferred to Unilever’s other 25 websites.

The company had recently appointed Publicis’ former marketing manager Melinda Chandler as the site’s marketing manager. The site’s founding partners Michael Gold, founder of GGT Advertising and French Gold Abbott, and David Pellar were chairman and chief executive respectively.

Wowgo had also recently appointed Walsh Trott Chick Smith to handle its advertising account. Until now, the agency had only created banner ads for the site.

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