Zirtual, a virtual assistant website funded by Downtown Project's VegasTechFund, shuttered suddenly Monday morning, laying off 400-plus U.S.-based employees.
In an email sent at 1:34 a.m. August 10, Zirtual CEO Maren Kate Donovan told employees that the company was retroactively shuttered effective August 7.
"Due to a myriad of reasons, Zirtual can no longer afford to operate," Donovan wrote. "... Sadly, with tears in our eyes, we have to say that we've exhausted our last efforts to save the company from this harsh reality."
Donovan notified clients Monday at 6:10 a.m. that Zirtual was halting operations, and urged them to connect directly with their virtual assistants.
"Due to a combination of market circumstances and financial constraints we must reorganize our current structure if we are to successfully serve you in the future," she wrote. "I realize this news comes incredibly fast and I am truly sorry for the Z-shaped hole this will leave in your lives and business."
Founded in 2011, Zirtual offered virtual secretarial help to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Observers of its closure praised former employees for taking action. "Amazing to watch newly unemployed Zirtual assistants band together to help one another. Proof that culture lives at bottom, not top," tweeted entrepreneur Matt Homann.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story referred to Maren Kate Donovan as Maren Kate.