Opsh founders step aside, citing a ‘notoriously difficult investment chasm’

12 Jan 2017

From left: Opsh co-founders and sisters Sarah, Grace and Jennie McGinn

The co-founders of the online shopping start-up Opsh have announced they are to step aside from the business, citing the “notoriously difficult investment chasm” as the reason for their exit.

Since expanding out of the NDRC LaunchPad programme a few years ago, the Opsh co-founders and sisters Sarah, Grace and Jennie McGinn appeared to be on the right track to developing a winning online retail business.

In October 2015, the trio spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about their plans for global domination of the market from its HQ in Dublin, including its expansion into the UK following investment from Brett Palos, the stepson of fashion retail giant Sir Philip Green, and Enterprise Ireland.

However, more than a year later, Sarah has issued a statement on the Opsh blog, confirming that they are to step aside as directors of the company, admitting that the decision will likely be a surprise to some who have been following the company’s progress.

Yet they also added that those familiar with the investor side of many start-ups will not be so surprised by their decision.

The unsexy side to running a start-up

“Ultimately, we fell victim to the notoriously difficult investment chasm – the chasm that exists when a sparky start-up needs to move into a global-looking machine,” Sarah said.

“And so, for some of you, this won’t come as a surprise. There is a distinctly unsexy side to running a start-up that made every effort to push through almost impossible.”

Sarah also added that while they are currently deciding what their next step will be as a trio of siblings, they hope that their work with Opsh has left a legacy for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

“We hope that we supported other young entrepreneurs; that we contributed somewhat to raising the profile of women in business; that we conducted ourselves in the most professional and respectable manner possible; that we demonstrated there was a new way to do business.”

Having started out several years ago as the blog What Will I Wear Today, the McGinn sisters expanded into the original incarnation of Opsh as a shoppable online magazine, before switching to the larger online shopping platform.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic