SIMLab is closing

3 minute read

I am very sad to announce that SIMLab is closing.

In the three years since we spun out FrontlineSMS and launched as a new non-profit brand, we’ve built a team, a culture and a body of work of which we’re incredibly proud. We’ve worked on projects all over the world, including here in Washington, DC; developed frameworks, case studies and research on inclusion and excellence in technology for social change; and shared our message of principled and evidence-based practice with practitioners and decision-makers. Even in such a short time, we’ve deservedly built up a reputation for expertise, solid execution and integrity. And I have never enjoyed going to work as much as I have at SIMLab.

But the bottom line is: our business model is weak, and due to an unexpected and very frustrating series of events, we don’t now have the cashflow to meet our financial commitments.

I’ll write more about what happened in the coming weeks [editor’s note: these posts are now available here and here] - as ever, our goal is to be forthright and transparent, in the hopes that our lessons will help benefit others. But for now, I want to write about what this means.

Starting immediately, our staff are looking for their next challenge, and are the most high-performing, committed and wonderful people I’ve ever had the joy to have as colleagues. You can read about them and what they want to do next, here.

We are behind on staff paychecks and some other liabilities. If you’ve ever used our resources, been a client or partner, or simply enjoyed our cheery presence in the world, please consider helping us pay off what we owe by making a donation here.

Until we close late this year or early next, we are open for business, preserving our resources and learning for posterity, dropping some last-minute wisdom on our blog and in op-eds, and continuing to provide our world-class consulting services. Now is the time to get us to help you! Find out what we do and how we might work together, here.

If you are a current client or partner, we have already contacted you to lay out what will happen next. If you haven’t heard from us and feel that you should have, please reach out.

FrontlineSMS continues to go from strength to strength, and you can find their website here.

We’re preserving as much of our learning and as many of our resources as we can on this website, which will stay up indefinitely to house them and remind the world that we were here. We are also publishing some of the ideas we had which we never got to do. Please feel free to pick them up and get them done! Get in touch if you want to talk about them.

For important bits of SIMLab, this is not the end. Our ideas and principles will live on, in our outgoing staff and on this website, in the concepts and frameworks we came up with and explained to the world, and the projects we worked on. SIMLab, as a container for all those things, has failed, and I’m sad and not a little angry. But I’m also philosophical, and eager for the next chapter and new challenges. Mostly I am grateful - to you, our readers, partners, friends and clients; to the funders who supported us; to the organizations and colleagues who inspired and worked with us; to the personal friends and companions who have helped us through the last tough years and months.

Most of all, I am more grateful than I can say to my team. I love each and every one of you unreservedly and I am so sorry we couldn’t keep going. All of this has been worth it because of you. Thank you.

To celebrations to come.