Emoov have entered administration after chief executive Russell Quirk was unable to secure the agent's future under a new owner, explained an e-mail (below) sent out to Emoov staff.
The news comes only months after a merger with Sarah Beeny's Tepilo and Urban, which valued the company in the region of £100 million.
Emoov management had previously told staff that if they continue to work until around mid-week, that "there is a fair possibility" of being paid by any new owner. The move into administration now makes this look doubtful.
Customers also face uncertainty over the services they have paid for, while Emoov listings have disappeared from Rightmove and Zoopla.
The e-mail sent from Russell Quirk to Emoov staff reads:
They say that entrepreneurs should never give up. But at the same time one needs to know when efforts have been truly exhausted and when you simply have to call it a day.
Regretfully and despite my significant endeavours over this weekend to achieve such, the prospective purchasers that have been in the wings have not come through with viable offers to acquire the Emoov business.
In good faith, my absolute quest over the past few weeks has been to secure the future of Emoov under a new owner in order that staff and customers would have continuity and certainty. Sadly, that is not now to be.
At 1pm today I held a call with Emoov board members where it was agreed to appoint James Cowper Kreston as administrators.
Once this intention is filed with the court later today they will take charge of the affairs of the company and its staff, customers and creditors and will work to secure an ultimate buyer.
Today is a truly sad day – but at the same time I am sincerely grateful to you all for your support, your loyalty and your hard work over the nine years since I founded the business.
I’m especially touched by those that have attended the office and that have continued to work with me over the last few days in spite of the dark clouds that have gathered of late.
I am also extremely grateful to specific shareholders such as Simon Murdoch of Episode 1; Gaby Salem of Wharton Capital; and Alexander Lazarev of Maxfield Capital who have been of immense support and professionalism since investing and in the last few weeks and months, fighting with me to preserve the company.
We built a business together that made positive noise, punched well above its weight and sought to make the home buying and selling experience better.
We commanded a position as a well recognised thought leader and commentator and that led with a customer first, value led, tech enabled proposition.
I’m proud of that and I am proud of all of you on that journey as the integral part of it. Our tech, systems, brand, TV, profile etc were all important components – but the team remains THE most important aspect by far. This is often under-estimated by others.
So, thank you. But above all, I’m so sincerely sorry that it has come to this.
Peter Whalley and Tom Russell at James Cowper Kreston will be in contact and will guide you through the important aspect of claiming monies.”