URwired closes its doors

Splash! Yes, it's the sound of another UK dot-com going under

European games and DVD e-tailer URwired announced the voluntary liquidation of its business to customers Thursday adding to growing concerns over the state of Britain's e-business.

Customers will feel let down by the brief apology posted on the homepage, which fails to address the paid orders that can no longer be delivered.

URwired has convened a creditors meeting that will take place a week from today, where creditors will submit their claims to the business. It is expected that accountancy firm Deloitte and Touche will be appointed to liquidate the business.

Lamotte admits that the company's responsibility to its customers is "one of our biggest issues". Now that the company has gone into receivership, URwired is prevented from dispatching any more orders in order to preserve all of its assets and not give preference to any creditors. "About 30 customers have pre-orders with us, which they will have to claim back from their credit card company," says Lamotte.

The company has been approaching investors for the last two months, but with little success. "We realised that there was no way that we could carry on, as we would need a cash injection of about £1.5m in order to stay in business," reveals Lamotte. He has now abandoned all hopes of receiving this as "few people are knowledgeable about the gaming industry".

Unlike many dot-com e-tailers, URwired was not backed by venture capital but were instead relying on funding from Lamotte's family.

"The company has done amazingly well on limited resources," comments Steve Takle, a former employee of the company. A mere £1.8m has been spent on the company so far. "If we had have been backed by venture capital we wouldn't have gone down, as you stand to lose a lot if money isn't added into the company," says Lamotte. "Investors are now far more cautious with Internet investment, and it is a shame that URwired was a casualty of the Web war," adds Takle.

Lamotte hopes that URwired can continue as a brand, as "this will be one of its main assets on sale".

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