Mode Media, a content platform for lifestyles and brands, abruptly shut down last week. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company sent a memo to employees saying Mode had been searching for both funding and potential acquirers for almost half a year, but it thought disclosing the efforts would have a negative impact. The company had raised roughly $280 million in funding since its 2004 founding (under the name Glam Media), counting Accel, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and 137 Ventures among its backers.
Although this seems like a sudden end for a company that generated $90 million in revenue last year—and which comScore recently ranked as the 10th-largest digital media publisher in the US—there have been signs of trouble for some time. Longtime CEO Samir Arora stepped down from his position in April, as did board member Marc Andreessen (Mode had acquired the Andreessen-founded social network Ning in 2011). President and chief revenue officer Dan Lagani followed them out the door a month later, and the company also laid off 30 employees in July.
Now, Twitter is aflutter with reports from the company's "content creators" that Mode won't pay them the money they're owed.