386 Startup Failure Post-Mortems
It's hard to say goodbye. A compilation of startup failure post-mortems by founders and investors.
Of his many failed experiments, Thomas Edison once said:
“I have learned fifty thousand ways it cannot be done and therefore I am fifty thousand times nearer the final successful experiment.”
In the spirit of failure, we dug into the data on startup death and found that 70% of upstart tech companies fail — usually around 20 months after first raising financing (with around $1.3M in total funding closed).
So why do so many startups flame out? The real reasons can be hard to uncover, but the obituaries written by founders, investors, and journalists offer plenty of clues.
Below is a time-staggered compilation of startup post-mortems for some of the most notable failures in the CB Insights database.
After reading the 386 goodbye letters and investigative takedowns below, check out our rundown for the top 12 reasons that startups shutter.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2021 Third Update (9/28/21)
Investment to startups skyrocketed in Q2’21, as the quarter saw 390 $100M+ mega-rounds and 2,893 global IPO and M&A exits — representing a 109% increase year-over-year. However, this activity was just one side of the private equity coin.
Many startups, rather than seeing an influx of fresh capital, shut down altogether due to a number of factors, such as increased competition (KupiVIP), a lack of market traction (Abundant Robotics), and flawed business models (Yelo). While these challenges may have been manageable on their own, in many cases, they proved to be fatal when compounded with pandemic-induced pressures.
Read on for the post-mortems of 8 startups that shut down since June 2021.
Title: Alibaba-backed fashion rental app YCloset shuts down after five years
YCloset — a fashion rental startup — shut down in early July, despite having raised $70M in total disclosed funding since its founding in 2015. In doing so, the company announced plans to end support for its sales and online channels by August 15. Like its US-based counterparts, Rent the Runway and Stitch Fix, YCloset operated using a subscription model and allowed its users to rent branded apparel.
Technode brought broader issues in the market to light:
“YCloset’s collapse comes as investor sentiment sours toward the once-popular fashion rental market, which has proven to be capital intensive. As YCloset scaled, it struggled to keep up with high expenses in shipping, dry cleaning, and staying abreast of the latest fashion trends.”
KupiVIP & Mamsy
Title: Russian Online Retail Pioneer KupiVIP Shuts Down
Product: KupiVIP & Mamsy
Discount e-commerce retailer KupiVIP and its affiliate Mamsy shut down after Yandex backed out of a deal to buy the company in July. Founded in 2008, KupiVIP was once one of Russia’s top 10 e-commerce sites — in fact, in 2012 it was valued at $400M. However, its ranking fell as competition in the space increased, ultimately leading it to experience a 10% year-over-year decrease in sales revenue in 2020.
Despite having raised $120M in disclosed funding, KupiVIP was unable to compete with rising e-commerce giants like Wildberries and Lamoda, leading parent company Private Trade to close down operations. KupiVIP board member David Waroquier stated,
“KupiVIP attempted to become omnichannel, involving operating across its websites, mobile app and brick-and-mortar retail stores. All this required significant capital, given the size of the Russian market…
While the international context was less favorable, not all local players were able or willing to invest in the company.”
Title: US: fruit harvesting robot company shuts down
Product: Abundant Robotics
Robotic apple harvester developer Abundant Robotics announced that it would be closing its doors at the beginning of July. Abundant claimed that it had been unable to develop the market traction necessary to stay afloat amid the pandemic, despite having collected $10M in venture capital investment and additional funding from The Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.
Prior to the announcement, the company put all of its intellectual property and assets up for sale, which included a number of patents integral to the development of its computer vision-enabled robot for fruit picking. Abundant CEO Dan Steere commented,
“After a series of promising commercial trials with prototype apple harvesters, the company was unable to raise enough investment funding to continue development and launch a production system.”
Title: Exclusive: Matrix-backed neo-banking app Yelo shuts down
July 2021 saw the closure of Yelo — a challenger bank mainly geared toward gig workers. After raising a seed round in 2019 and subsequently amassing 4M app downloads, the company faced complications with its business model that were further compounded by the onset of the pandemic. While no official statement was made by the company, in July, an anonymous source close to the company stated,
“Yelo suspended the operations last month and laid off all employees in the past few months.”
Title: Distant Kingdoms dev Orthrus Studios shuts down after entire team is laid off
Product: Orthrus Studios
Scotland-based video game developer Orthrus Studios shut down following the launch of its fantasy video game “Distant Kingdoms” in May. The company’s team of 10 employees, including founder Oliver V. Smith, were all let go.
In a statement on LinkedIn, Smith stated,
“As of today myself and my entire team at Orthrus Studios have been made redundant.
We worked our hardest on Distant Kingdoms, but sometimes the work and a good product just aren’t enough.
I am incredibly grateful to the people who helped make this 4.5 year dream a reality, and my colleagues are all INCREDIBLY talented people, some of whom I firmly believe are the next great minds of Game Development.”
Title: Epic Games to shut down Houseparty in October, including the video chat ‘Fortnite Mode’ feature
At the start of September, Epic Games announced that it would be discontinuing Houseparty come October. Epic acquired the video chat app in 2019 for $35M in order to provide live video chat capabilities to Fortnite gamers. While the company didn’t cite an explicit reason for the shutdown, many surmised that the app had simply proven to be financially unsustainable.
In a blog post, Epic stated that Houseparty employees would be redistributed across other teams to focus on developing social features at “metaverse scale,” suggesting that Epic would be moving toward developing a larger-scale virtual environment:
“So what’s next? The team behind Houseparty is working on creating new ways to have meaningful and authentic social interactions at metaverse scale across the Epic Games family.”
Title: Closing Clickety
At the end of August, project management tool Clickety announced it would be closing down. Customers were told to contact the company to obtain a file containing data related to “group memberships, manual comments, people notes, and merged aliases,” otherwise it would be permanently deleted on October 1. Founder Luke Kanies didn’t provide a specific reason for the closure, simply stating,
“We are incredibly proud of what we’ve built. We’ll miss using it ourselves. And we’re as convinced as ever that what we were building – a powerful tool to help people whose jobs are built around people work – is still needed. But we aren’t able to continue our efforts.”
Title: Unacademy shuts Mastree after a year of acquisition
Unacademy shut down online learning platform Mastree a year after acquiring a majority stake in the company for $5M. Of Mastree’s 240 employees, Unacademy stated that 190 would be redistributed across its other businesses following the closure, though Mastree co-founders Shrey Goyal and Royal Jain chose to fully depart. In an internal note, Unacademy co-founder and chief executive Gaurav Munjal commented,
“Everyone – after a lot of experiments we have decided to shut down the operations at Mastree. Kudos to Shrey and Royal for iterating at breakneck speed and trying out many things before all of us decided to shut things down.”
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2021 Second Update (6/16/21)
More than a year in, many companies have survived the uncertainty brought on by the global pandemic, or even thrived: Q1’21 saw record-breaking funding go to fintech cos, while retail tech funding tripled year-over-year.
But not all companies rode this funding wave to success. Along with Covid-19, other challenges — like overcrowded markets (SuperData Research), mismanagement (Katerra), and difficulties scaling operations (Hey Tiger) — have led to some companies shuttering for good.
Read on for the post-mortems of 10 startups that shut down since February 2021.
Title: Katerra Commences U.S. Court-Supervised Process to Implement Financial Restructuring
Modular construction startup Katerra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early June 2021. The SoftBank-backed unicorn was last valued at $3B in 2018 and had raised nearly $1.5B in total funding from investors such as Khosla Ventures and Greenoaks Capital Management.
Although the company cited mismanagement as the driver of its downfall, the collapse of lender Greensill Capital, just 3 months earlier, also played a role. While SoftBank had been funding Katerra directly, Greensill, a SoftBank Vision Fund recipient ($1.5B), was also financing Katerra, highlighting the interconnected nature of SoftBank’s portfolio. This downturn domino effect has led some to question the viability of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, especially given that this follows the 2019 fall of coworking unicorn WeWork, in which SoftBank was the primary investor.
Katerra Chief Transformation Officer Marc Liebman stated,
“Our multi-step action plan has rapidly evolved and includes consolidating US activities, continuing our international businesses, advancing key asset sales, securing debtor-in-possession financing, and commencing an in-court restructuring process. We are grateful to the extraordinary ongoing work and support of the Katerra team and other core constituencies through this extremely difficult time.”
Title: Digital comics startup Madefire is shutting down
Madefire, a digital comics startup, entered into an assignment of benefit for creditors (ABC), an alternative to formal bankruptcy, at the beginning of April 2021. This was a sudden announcement for many Madefire users, who were given until the end of the month to download their purchases. The Madefire app powered a number of digital comics apps — such as Archie Unlimited and IDW — which were also shut down. Despite having a wide range of artists, including Dave Gibbons, and investors, like Drake, the company faded out in the face of competition. The Beat reports,
“Digital comics platforms have tried to play the start-up-to-acquisition game a few times, none with as big a footprint — or as doggedly — as Madefire. In the end, readers have spoken with their wallets and eyeballs: people prefer free comics, print comics and Amazon (comiXology).”
Title: Aerion Supersonic shuts down, ending plans to build silent high speed business jets
Product: Aerion Corporation
Aerion Corporation, an aeronautical engineering startup, announced its sudden closure at the end of May 2021. The company had drawn attention for developing a patented technology that would allow its AS2 supersonic jets to fly without creating a sonic boom. While the company had fostered partnerships with Boeing, General Electric, and NetJets, and reported plans to fly its first jet by 2024 and begin commercial services by 2026, it ultimately succumbed to challenges associated with securing necessary capital. According to a company statement,
“The AS2 supersonic business jet program meets all market, technical, regulatory and sustainability requirements, and the market for a new supersonic segment of general aviation has been validated with $11.2 billion in sales backlog for the AS2.
However, in the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production.
Given these conditions, the Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment.”
Title: Farewell, Periscope
Periscope, the livestreaming app that popularized mobile livestreaming, shut down at the end of March 2021 — 6 years after its initial launch. In December 2020, Twitter — which bought Periscope in 2015 for $100M — announced that it would be phasing out the app due to declining usage. The need for Periscope as a standalone service started to wane in 2016 when Twitter announced the launch of its homegrown streaming capabilities. Periscope’s website will remain active with an archive of its public broadcasts and users will still be able to download their data through Twitter as well. Twitter stated,
“The truth is that the Periscope app is in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while. […]
Although it’s time to say goodbye, the legacy of Periscope will live on far beyond the boundaries of the app itself.
The capabilities and ethos of the Periscope team and infrastructure already permeate Twitter, and we’re confident that live video still has the potential of seeing an even wider audience within the Twitter product.”
Title: Nielsen to Shut Down its SuperData Gaming Division
Product: SuperData Research
Market intelligence provider SuperData Research was shuttered in March 2021 by Nielsen Sports, which acquired the research firm in 2018 to help it enhance its own product offerings. While Nielsen did not specify a reason for shutting down the division, it did state that it would move away from offering gaming services as its own entity and instead add it as an additional feature to its core Nielsen Sports products. Sports Business Journal reported that market competition and Covid-19-related complications could have factored into the decision,
“…esports industry executives, when informed of the move, noted to SBJ in general that the gaming data space is crowded and that, more broadly, the esports industry hasn’t scaled quite as much as expected in part because of effects from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Title: Hubba To Shut Down
Canada-based e-commerce startup Hubba shut down in February 2021. The company, which had raised $59M in disclosed equity funding, aimed to help connect independent retailers and emerging brands to bring attention to new products and facilitate wholesale buying. The announcement was a shock both for those familiar with the company’s earlier achievements and IPO plans and for its employees, who were immediately let go on an all-hands zoom call at the start of the month. According to Betakit,
“It is unclear to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic had hampered Hubba’s growth and customer base. However, one source BetaKit spoke with claimed a months-long battle between Zifkin and Hubba’s board of directors regarding the ongoing viability of the company.”
Title: A Farewell Letter From Our Founder, Cyan Ta’eed
Product: Hey Tiger
Ethical chocolate brand Hey Tiger announced its closure at the beginning of May 2021, 3 years after opening. The company’s mission was twofold — to produce high-quality chocolate products while simultaneously acknowledging and addressing inequities in the cocoa industry. Not only did it commit to ethically sourcing ingredients, but it also made charitable donations to combat child labor and poverty in cocoa farming communities. Although the company gained a loyal following, it struggled to scale its operations and remain profitable in a manner that aligned with its social goals. A post on the company’s Instagram account stated,
“But like any start up, there comes a time when you need to take a hard look at the company’s long term viability. Although we designed a business that customers absolutely love, it proved hard to scale into the profitability it needed to be a sustainable social enterprise. As the scale of our chocolate production grew, so did the tensions between the very things that made Hey Tiger special. Ultimately while succeeding in one goal, we couldn’t make the other.”
Title: FTC shuts down savings app Beam under tentative settlement
Mobile savings app Beam was shut down under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The app — launched in 2019 — initially billed itself as “the first mobile high-interest savings account for the 99%,” offering interest rates as high as 7% while still permitting “24/7 access” to deposits. However, a 2020 CNBC investigation revealed that dozens of customers were not able to get their money out of their accounts, which ultimately led the FTC to shut it down and bar it from operating a similar business in the future. FTC Acting Director of Consumer Protection Daniel Kaufman stated,
“The message here is simple for mobile banking apps and similar services: Don’t lie about your customers’ ability to get their money when they need it.”
Title: Early blockchain music startup Jaak has shut down
UK-based blockchain music startup JAAK announced that it would be taking most of its properties offline starting at the end of March 2021. JAAK’s goal in developing its pilot blockchain network — KORD — was to create a global view of intellectual property rights and payment information to help artists manage rights ownership and correct inconsistencies in royalty payments. A series of Tweets on the company’s corporate account points to challenges with scale and securing adequate funding, among others, as reasons for its undoing,
“6 years is a long time in startups, especially pre-revenue ones, and, ultimately, we failed to secure the funding required to get to market. Markets change and we didn’t change quickly enough.
I have a Notion full of painful lessons about why we failed but I’ll save those for another day.
tl;dr: users > partners, no premature scaling.”
Title: Disintegration developer V1 Interactive shuts down
Product: V1 Interactive
Video game developer V1 Interactive announced its closure in March 2021, just 9 months after releasing its debut game called Disintegration. While the company didn’t cite a specific reason for its closure, previous reports indicate that it struggled with growing an audience for its multiplayer offering. It took Disintegration’s multiplayer mode offline in September 2020, and the entire game was taken offline in November. In its final Twitter announcement, it simply stated,
“We are sad to inform you that V1 Interactive is officially closing.
We want to thank all the talented people at V1, both past and present, who helped make the last 5 years wonderful.
And a heartfelt thanks to the amazing community that supported us.”
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2021 First Update (2/3/21)
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, global VC funding grew 15% year-over-year in 2020 to over $259B. Meanwhile, 2020 saw the number of unicorns (private companies worth $1B+) surpass 500 as well as notable exits by companies like Snowflake, DoorDash, and Airbnb.
Not all startups, however, were able to weather 2020’s ups and downs.
Several of the companies in this update stated they shut down because they were unable to raise funding (GoBear) or find a viable revenue model (Loon). Some were hit especially hard by pandemic shutdowns and changing consumer behaviors (Brideside). Others, meanwhile, allegedly mismanaged their spending (AWOK) or faced problems unrelated to the pandemic (TenX) that led to their failure.
Read on for 15 post-mortems of startups that have shut down since August 2020.
Title: Quibi Is Shutting Down Barely Six Months After Going Live
Mobile-focused streaming service Quibi shut down in October 2020 just 6 months after launching. The platform — which had raised a mammoth $1.75B from investors like NBC Universal, Viacom, and Warner Bros. Entertainment — offered subscribers shows made up of 5- to 10-minute episodes, meant to be consumed “on-the-go.” The service failed to gain traction with consumers amid a crowded playing field of streaming services and other short form content providers like TikTok. Roku purchased the rights to Quibi’s programming for less than $100M in January 2021.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and chief executive Meg Whitman said in a letter to employees at the time of the shutdown:
…[T]here were “one or two reasons” for Quibi’s failure: The idea behind Quibi either “wasn’t strong enough to justify a stand-alone streaming service” or the service’s launch in the middle of a pandemic was particularly ill-timed. “Unfortunately, we will never know, but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two,” they said.
Title: Hammered by pandemic, consumer lender Aura shuts down
Product: Aura Financial
Latino-focused consumer lender Aura Financial, which offered customers loans of $300 to $4,000 through supermarkets and other retailers, suspended operations in early January as it faced increasing financial challenges. On LinkedIn, company co-founder James Gutierrez blamed the company’s demise on the pandemic and a lack of funding, as quoted in American Banker:
“When the pandemic first hit, Aura was on the verge of closing new financing on its final march to profitability. However, suddenly, all capital dried up as the uncertainty of how our low-income, mostly Latino customer base would recover from a pandemic that disproportionately impacted their jobs, health, and finances intimidated investors.”
Title: Alphabet punctures Loon internet balloon project
Loon, the high-flying internet balloon project spun out of X, Alphabet’s (the parent company of Google) innovation lab, closed down in January. According to the Financial Times,
Astro Teller, head of X, said on Thursday that, “despite the team’s groundbreaking technical achievements over the last nine years, the road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped.”
Title: Australian neobank Xinja throws in the towel
Australia-based digital bank Xinja announced in December 2020 it would exit banking, returning its banking license and refunding customer deposits. The startup had reportedly spent heavily on its high-interest bank accounts and was unable to close a funding round before announcing its decision to shut down its banking products on its website, noting:
“After a year marked by Covid-19 and an increasingly difficult capital-raising environment, and following a review of the market in Australia, Xinja has decided to withdraw the bank account and Stash (savings) account and cease being a bank. This was an incredibly hard decision. We hope to refocus the business in other areas such as our US share trading product, Dabble, should circumstances allow.”
Title: Financial services firm GoBear closing business
Despite having raised $17M in fresh funding in May 2020, Singapore-based fintech GoBear announced it would wind down operations earlier this year. The startup, which offered a financial products comparison tool, cited its inability to raise new financing and the pandemic’s downward pressure on consumer demand for products like travel insurance as reasons for its failure. The Strait Times reported:
In a statement, the fintech firm said Covid-19 has made the operating and fund-raising environment “very challenging,” despite the firm having made progress in its growth and transformation plans last year.
The factors included a prolonged period of weakened demand for some financial products and services, in particular travel insurance.
Title: A Crowdsourced Quant Fund Fizzles in Era of Democratized Trading
Quantitative trading platform Quantopian announced in October 2020 that it would shut down and that its co-founders and employees would move to Robinhood. The company, which had raised over $51M in funding from names like Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, let users develop and test algorithmic trading strategies for free. Selected algorithms were then used as part of Quantopian’s hedge fund’s investing strategy, and developers would get a cut of the profits. Bloomberg said about the shutdown:
It was the wisdom of the crowds, applied to the nerdiest corner of Wall Street—radical, sure, but a logical extension of a burgeoning gig economy and a tech revolution that was opening up access to ever-deeper market data.
The startup, which was launched in 2011, also tried to make money by selling an enterprise version of its online platform to financial firms. But that never really took off, and it was mainly banking on its hedge fund to succeed, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. […]
The fund stopped trading at the start of 2020. In an interview with the Boston Business Journal, Fawcett said the fund had underperformed.
Title: Dubai’s Awok shuts down just a year after raising $30 million Series A
Dubai-based e-commerce startup AWOK closed down in early September 2020. While the startup blamed the pandemic for its demise in an official statement, the company had allegedly been far behind on payments to its employees and suppliers before then, despite having secured $30M in funding a year prior.
MENAbytes has spoken with multiple employees at Awok all of which have confirmed that the company has been in crisis since the start of 2020. All of them have told us that the employees weren’t paid salaries since January and the majority of them left the company in March. […]
Some of the vendors of the company were also not paid their dues, the former employees of the company told us. The online reviews of Awok on Trust Pilot suggest that the company was not fulfilling the orders of customers in spite of receiving payments.
Title: Wedding apparel retailer Brideside abruptly shuts down
Launched in 2013, wedding and bridesmaid dress retailer Brideside shut down in November 2020, as it and the wedding industry on the whole faced significant headwinds due to Covid-19. According to Retail Dive,
The retailer, which sold online and through physical retail locations in Boston, Chicago, Charlotte and New York said that “with two-thirds of weddings cancelled in 2020 and an uncertain year ahead, our chapter has come to an end.”
Title: The fintech company Joonko to cease operations after only 12 months of existence
Berlin-based financial products comparison site Joonko shut down in October 2020 after only 1 year in operation. The startup, which had received $11M in seed funding from Ping An Ventures and Raisin, was in talks to raise another financing round which fell through. As quoted in Born2Invest, the company’s press release at the time of its closure stated:
“Series A financing round with existing and new investors, which was initiated in spring, could not be completed because one of the lead investors withdrew at short notice. An alternative and sufficient financing is not possible in such a short period of time, so the company is now taking the step and discontinuing the business.”
Title: Bay Area co-living startup HubHaus implodes, stranding renters and homeowners
Co-living rental platform HubHaus, which raised over $12M in VC funding, announced it would wind down operations in September 2020 after months of missed payments. The company laid off all employees and transferred all tenants’ leases to the homeowners abruptly. The San Francisco Chronicle reports,
Many landlords who had rented their homes to HubHaus said in interviews and on a Facebook group that it had already slashed the rent it was paying them in recent months, leaving them tens of thousands of dollars in the hole. Several said they were stunned to discover that it had also stopped paying utilities months ago. (Because of the pandemic, utility companies are not cutting off service for nonpayment.)
Title: TerrAvion Abruptly Files For Bankruptcy, Ceases Operations
Agtech imaging startup TerrAvion folded abruptly in September 2020. According to CropLife, company CEO Robert Morris said in an email to customers:
“I wish we could have given everyone more of a heads up, but we were working and hoping to avoid this until just hours ago. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in this outcome. To make the decisions it will be called upon to make on every acre in the 21st century, agriculture needs modern, open, high-resolution data infrastructure. Though TerrAvion delivered the most volume in our category — with positive and growing margins — agribusiness and capital markets seem to have incommensurate expectations. TerrAvion was caught in the middle. The team and I did everything possible in our power to make it work.”
Title: Seattle cybersecurity startup Rubica shuts down after running out of cash
Cybersecurity startup Rubica, which initially offered its services to individual consumers and small businesses, closed up shop in November 2020. The 4-year-old startup had attempted to pivot to offering its services to larger customers as it struggled to generate enough revenue from its consumer subscription service, but it was unable to convince investors of the viability of its model. Rubica CEO and co-founder Frances Dewing told GeekWire:
“We were all really surprised given how relevant and needed this is right now,” Dewing said. “Investors didn’t agree with that or see it in the same way.”
Title: Haven, the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan venture to disrupt health care, is disbanding after 3 years
Haven, a joint venture by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase aimed at lowering healthcare costs, announced it would shut down in February 2021, 3 years after launching. According to CNBC,
One key issue facing Haven was that while the firm came up with ideas, each of the three founding companies executed their own projects separately with their own employees, obviating the need for the joint venture to begin with, according to the people, who declined to be identified speaking about the matter.
Title: Crypto payment and wallet project TenX shuts down
Cryptocurrency payments startup TenX is sunsetting its current services and has disabled new signups and deposits. The startup, which was incubated by PayPal in 2016, announced in October 2020 it would discontinue its cards as its card issuer Wirecard filed for insolvency. The company stated,
“This is not goodbye, and we want to thank you for your support along the way and helping us build an incredible community of visionaries who are committed to the future of sound money.”
Title: SDN startup Lumina Networks closes shop, citing Covid-19 impact
Product: Lumina Networks
Lumina Networks, a provider of open source software for telecom networks, announced it was going out of business in late August 2020. Although backed by AT&T Ventures and Verizon Ventures, the company was unable to find a sustainable revenue model, citing the pandemic as a contributing factor, according to its statement:
“Essentially, revenue continued to flow to proprietary vendors. The switch to open source did not take place at a pace anywhere close to the speed that would enable us to operate and grow our business, despite commitments from many to the contrary. We have also found that Covid-19 has actually redirected funds away from automation projects and into building-out raw infrastructure, further delaying adoption.”
“Selling Lumina to a proprietary vendor who is naturally antithetical to our mission proved an impossible task and for this reason we must now close our business,” it concluded.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2020 Second Update (8/18/20)
The first half of 2020 has been defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the downfall of many iconic retailers as well as a range of startups that faltered amid a global lockdown.
In this update, the hospitality industry was hit especially hard, with several short-term rental and travel startups forced to wind down operations. Fashion and media companies also lost customers and dollars they needed as consumer spending pulled back and investor appetite waned.
The pandemic hasn’t only been to blame for the ends of these startups, however. Some of these failed companies were facing problems far before the crisis, from over-promised software to stiff competition to shady business practices.
Read on for the post-mortems of 14 startups that shut down since January.
Title: $75M legal startup Atrium shuts down, lays off 100
Legal tech and law firm startup Atrium shut down in March 2020, following an unsuccessful pivot to a pure software offering in January. The firm had received just over $75M in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, and New Enterprise Associates, and it was once valued at over $250M. CEO Justin Kan noted in his interview with TechCrunch,
“If you look at our original business model with the verticalized law firm, a lot of these companies that have this kind of full stack model are not going to survive,” Kan explained. “A lot of these companies, Atrium included, did not figure out how to make a dent in operational efficiency.”
Title: ScaleFactor Raised $100 Million In A Year Then Blamed Covid-19 For Its Demise. Employees Say It Had Much Bigger Problems.
Finance and accounting platform ScaleFactor raised $100M from investors before shutting down in June 2020. In an interview with Forbes, CEO Kurt Rathmann blamed pandemic-related financial woes for the demise of the company, which promised to automate customers’ bookkeeping needs. However, some former clients — and employees — protested this characterization, stating that the AI tech powering the platform was often unpredictable, creating errors that even outsourced accountants the company had hired couldn’t keep up with fixing. According to a Forbes investigation published in July 2020,
ScaleFactor used aggressive sales tactics and prioritized chasing capital instead of building software that ultimately fell far short of what it promised, according to interviews with 15 former employees and executives. When customers fled, executives tried to obscure the real damage.
Title: The End of Starsky Robotics
Product: Starsky Robotics
Starsky Robotics, an autonomous trucking tech startup, folded in March 2020. In a blog post, CEO Stefan Seltz-Axmacher outlined the reasons the company had failed, stating:
Timing, more than anything else, is what I think is to blame for our unfortunate fate. Our approach, I still believe, was the right one but the space was too overwhelmed with the unmet promise of AI to focus on a practical solution. As those breakthroughs failed to appear, the downpour of investor interest became a drizzle.
Title: Essential, Andy Rubin’s phone company, is shutting down
Product: Essential Products
Consumer hardware startup Essential closed down in February 2020, following the flop of its Essential Phone launched in 2017 and other unfinished projects. Founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, the startup drew significant interest, raising over $330M. However, after a 2018 New York Times report revealed that Rubin had allegedly left Google due to sexual misconduct allegations, attention to the startup cooled. According to The Verge,
Essential was in the process of developing another phone called “Project Gem” with an unusual design. Rubin first teased the project in October 2019, but the company now says it has “no clear path to deliver it to customers.”
“Given this, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations and shutdown Essential,” the company writes in a blog post.
Title: Avast Antivirus Is Shutting Down Its Data Collection Arm, Effective Immediately
Avast Antivirus’ CEO Ondrej Vlcek and board of directors promptly shut down subsidiary Jumpshot after an investigation by Motherboard and PCMag revealed that Avast, the antivirus security platform, was collecting and selling private user web browsing data through Jumpshot. According to The Verge,
Vlcek, who became CEO of Avast seven months ago, said he has spent the first few months of his job “re-evaluating every portion of our business,” and that the Jumpshot revelations had eroded trust in the company.
Title: Indonesian fashion e-commerce startup Sorabel to shutter operations
Fashion e-commerce startup Sorabel was unable to weather the storm created by the Covid-19 crisis, announcing plans to wind down operations in July 2020 as consumers avoided non-essential spending. Sorabel had received over $28M in disclosed funding, and was reportedly poised to close new financing when the pandemic hit and investors withdrew. Deal Street Asia reported,
In a letter to Sorabel employees, the company said it had done its best to save the business but was left with no choice but to close down. “Due to this liquidation process, we have to terminate employment contracts with no exception, effective July 30. I am certain that no one would ever expect this to happen.”
Title: Online dollar store Hollar to wind down
Launched in 2015, Hollar — backed by investors like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Lightspeed Venture Partners — received over $45M in funding to bring the dollar store online. However, Axios reported in February 2020 that the startup would wind down operations amid financial troubles:
Hollar’s thesis was that dollar store denizens would buy multiple products at a time, thus alleviating pressure on shipping costs. But a source close to the situation says the unit economics never panned out.
The company is said to have started looking for a buyer late last year, and is in final negotiations with retailer Five Below, which would bring on more employees and at least some of the other assets.
Title: The Outline, an attempt to build a bolder kind of news site, appears to have met its end
Product: The Outline
Bustle Digital Group shut down digital media company The Outline in April 2020, just one year after acquiring it. Founded in 2016 by journalist Joshua Topolsky, the company raised over $10M in funding to develop a news site that featured immersive design, bold colors, and full-page ads. Amid low site traction and added pressure from the Covid-19 crisis, Bustle Digital laid off The Outline’s staff as part of broader company layoffs. According to Neiman Lab,
In a statement, Bustle Digital cited the “unprecedented impact of COVID-19,” noting that most remaining employees “will be taking temporary tiered salary reductions.”
As for The Outline’s future, the statement said: “We are halting operations of The Outline going forward. We will continue to host the publication and the archives, and Josh Topolsky will be exploring alternative paths forward for the publication’s future.”
Title: Stay Alfred to permanently close down
Product: Stay Alfred
Apartment rental startup Stay Alfred was hit hard by the pandemic, as shutdowns forced the company to close its properties and investor interest dried up. The startup, which had raised $62M in funding, announced it would permanently cease operations in May 2020. According to Short Term Rentalz, CEO Jordan Allen said in an interview with the Spokane Journal,
“My heart’s broken in a lot of ways,” Allen told the newspaper. “We were trying to sell off assets, but there just aren’t a lot of buyers out there.”
He added that, in hindsight, he would have looked to adopt more of an ownership business model rather than concentrating so heavily on a master lease model.
Title: Stockwell, the AI-vending machine startup formerly known as Bodega, is shutting down July 1
AI-powered vending machine startup Stockwell announced its plans to shut down in June 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic made its business model of in-office and in-apartment building vending machines nonviable. In August, 365 Retail Markets announced its acquisition of Stockwell’s tech platform, which it intends to integrate into its point-of-sale systems. CEO Paul McDonald told TechCrunch,
“Regretfully, the current landscape has created a situation in which we can no longer continue our operations and will be winding down the company on July 1st,” co-founder and CEO Paul McDonald wrote in an email to TechCrunch. “We are deeply grateful to our talented team, incredible partners and investors, and our amazing shoppers that made this possible. While this wasn’t the way we wanted to end this journey, we are confident that our vision of bringing the store to where people live, work and play will live on through other amazing companies, products and services.”
Pillow and ApartmentJet
Title: Expedia Shuts a Short-Term Rental Biz It Created From 2 Acquisitions
Product: Pillow and ApartmentJet
In 2018, Expedia acquired rental management software startups Pillow and ApartmentJet in an approximate $54M deal. Expedia combined the startups to form a platform to help landlords and tenants offer short-term rentals. According to Skift, Expedia shut down the platform in May 2020 as Covid-19 decimated the demand for its services,
Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern and senior executive Barry Diller have been reorganizing the online travel agency for several months, cutting costs, consolidating teams, and trying to simplify what they agree has been a less-than-efficient and complex web of businesses.
The Expedia Group spokeswoman said factors that led to the demise of its multifamily business grew out of the Covid-19 crisis, which hurt urban demand and complicated investment in supply.
Title: Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and partnering with Facebook Gaming
Acquired in 2016 by Microsoft, the interactive game streaming service Mixer let viewers interact with streamers via crowd-sourced controls. After failing to scale Mixer to compete with Twitch and YouTube, Microsoft announced in June 2020 that it would shut down the platform and partner with Facebook Gaming. According to The Verge,
“We started pretty far behind, in terms of where Mixer’s monthly active viewers were compared to some of the big players out there,” says Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, in an interview with The Verge. “I think the Mixer community is really going to benefit from the broad audience that Facebook has through their properties, and the abilities to reach gamers in a very seamless way through the social platform Facebook has.”
Title: Facebook is dumping its failed TikTok clone Lasso to make way for its other TikTok clone on Instagram
As Facebook prepared the launch of Instagram’s Reels, it shut down its other TikTok clone, Lasso. The app, which was only available in select markets, never gained traction in the US and was shut down by Facebook in July 2020. Business Insider reported,
“We place multiple bets across our family of apps to test and learn how people want to express themselves,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “One of these tests was Lasso, our stand-alone short-form video app, which we have decided to shut down. We thank everyone who shared their creativity and feedback with us, which we’ll look to incorporate in our other video experiences.”
Title: Photo-sharing startup Trover, started by Rich Barton and acquired by Expedia, is closing down
Another Expedia acquisition felled by the pandemic is photo sharing platform Trover. Founded in 2011 by Rich Barton and Jason Karas, Trover aimed to connect travelers through images and experiences shared on the site, which shut down in August 2020. The startup raised $12M before being acquired in 2016 by Expedia. According to GeekWire,
“I’m really proud of what Jason and the team built with Trover,” Barton told GeekWire in an email Wednesday afternoon. “Exploring the world seems even more important now that we are living our lives in such close proximity to our homes, longing for adventure. Of course, I fully respect and understand Expedia’s decision, given the hurricane that has hit the travel industry.”
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2020 First Update (1/21/20)
The last few months of 2019 saw the demise of a range of startups, from a biopharmaceuticals company to a rental and storage startup to a ride-hailing app. Venture capital funding and deals fell for the second straight quarter in Q4’19, according to the PwC and CB Insights Q4’19 Venture Capital Funding Report, a trend further illustrated by the number of companies that cited lack of funding as their primary reason for shuttering.
Read on for 16 post-mortems of startups that have shut down since October 2019.
Title: Sienna Biopharmaceuticals to shut down by end of week
Product: Sienna Biopharmaceuticals
California-based Sienna Biopharmaceuticals had raked in $86M in venture funding before going public at a valuation near $300M in 2017. It ultimately filed for bankruptcy after several pipeline drug flops. According to Becker’s Hospital Review,
The company, founded in 2010, had hoped to sell itself and restructure but didn’t receive any bids for the whole company. It sold its topical photoparticle therapy assets to Sebacia, a dermatology company, for $1.7 million.
Title: The N.F.L.’s Favorite Helmet Maker Is in Financial Trouble
Football helmet maker Vicis entered receivership after struggling to turn a profit, despite praise for its high-tech helmets. It had raised more than $74M in disclosed funding from investors, but failed to gain market share in a highly complex and competitive industry. According to the New York Times,
“We were more successful than most at raising capital, but it took a tremendous amount of time and effort, effort that could have been applied to growing and running the business,” [co-founder and ex-CEO Dave] Marver said.
Title: Stratoscale closes down, lays off 60
Once valued at nearly $90M, Stratoscale developed data center infrastructure software. The Israel-based software company had accumulated funding from big-name investors such as Cisco Investments, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures, among others, but shuttered after a failed acquisition. As CEO Ariel Maislos told Globes,
We built something amazing but the merger was not successful. The product that we developed was great and right, if it will be part of a larger organization. We think there has been a technological switch in which the giants dictate the direction of the market and we gave more power to the traditional players. We had an amazing team but we decided that the time had come to move on.
Title: Four years after being acquired, Hipmunk is shutting down
Founded by Adam Goldstein and Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, Hipmunk was one of the first metasearch travel sites that allowed users to compare flights, hotels, and car rentals from multiple websites. It gathered $55M in funding before being acquired by SAP Concur in 2016, which struggled to integrate the search engine. Its co-founders made a bid to take over the startup before it shuttered but were rejected. As SAP Concur spokesperson Alex Vaught told Skift,
We carefully considered all potential avenues for Hipmunk and Concur Hipmunk and determined that it was in the best interests of our travelers, customers, our people and SAP Concur to terminate the service and retain all of the intellectual property.
Title: How IgnitionOne, an adtech company that holding company Dentsu bought for $275 million, wound up selling in a fire sale
Once a pioneering adtech firm, IgnitionOne fell from glory after failing to renew its line of credit. A notable problem ex-employees lamented was that management was too personally invested in the startup, hindering growth and adaptability. Zeta Global ultimately purchased the company. In a letter to shareholders, CEO Will Margiloff wrote,
While the business had turned the corner this year and had the best year to date for % growth, revenue and EBITDA, our liquidity was severely hampered by our inability to renew our line of credit from existing lenders. The underlying cause of this was client concentration and that we operate in an industry where we are required to pay for inventory from suppliers long before our customers remit payment to the Company.
Title: Omni storage & rentals fails, shutters, sells engineers to Coinbase
Storage and rental startup Omni folded after failing to scale and generate revenue, with Coinbase reportedly agreeing to hire 10 of its engineers. Omni had gathered $35M in funding from Highland Capital and Ripple, among others. According to TechCrunch,
They realized that the core business was just challenging as architected. The service was really great for the consumer but when they looked at what it would take to scale, that would be difficult and expensive.
Title: Miaoshenghou closes all 80 stores; another fresh food e-commerce company folds
Fresh food delivery market Miaoshenghou shuttered in December 2019, quietly closing its 80 Shanghai-based stores. The founder noted that low profit margins, as low as 10% to 20% for fresh goods, ultimately led to the chain’s demise. As the founder told China Economic Net,
The rent for a shop of more than 100 square meters is about 35,000 RMB [~5,088 USD] on average in Shanghai; with other costs, approximately 70,000 to 80,000 RMB [10,176 USD to 11,630 USD]. Even if we automate, such a premium is not enough to offset the sensitivity of consumers to prices.
Title: Gett Announces Closure of Juno and Strategic Partnership With Lyft
New York ride-hailing app Juno was shut down by parent company Gett in November. The company had long struggled with profitability, and reportedly lost $1M a day. It had previously raised $30M from Jordache Ventures and Rakuten before getting acquired by Gett in 2017. According to the press release,
Juno is shutting down in New York today as a result of both Gett’s increased focus on the corporate transportation sector and the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year.
Title: RE data startup CrediFi to shut down following failed sale
Commercial real estate loans data startup CrediFi shut down in December 2019, after failing to find footing in a competitive space that featured incumbents like CoStar Group. It had earlier raised $29M from a host of investors including Battery Ventures, Viola Ventures, and Liberty Media Corporation. The Real Deal writes,
The company, led by CEO Ely Razin, had been in talks to sell to firms including Moody’s — which has been ramping up its real-estate data business — but no deal ever went through, according to a senior employee, whose account was later confirmed by sources familiar with the talks.
Title: Kettlebell Kitchen Shuts Down Its Prepared Meal Delivery Service
Product: Kettlebell Kitchen
Meal kit startup Kettlebell Kitchen, which focused on tailored meal kits for specific diets, closed shop in November 2019. It reportedly lost $12M a year, struggling to turn a profit amid a crowded meal kit delivery market, with numerous rivals like HelloFresh and BlueApron competing for the same demographic. The Spoon writes,
The prepared meal delivery business is tough to scale, given all the supply chain, safety requirements, and logistics. Now we have to see if Kettlebell Kitchen is a canary in the prepared meal delivery coalmine.
Title: Rocket-Internet backed salon booking service Vaniday Singapore shuts shop
Beauty booking platform Vaniday shut down in December 2019, despite raising a reported 7-figure round in June. In an interview, CEO Saurabh Chauhan said that the company hadn’t been profitable since its first investment in 2015. According to DealStreetAsia,
Vaniday’s financial troubles began surfacing this year. According to a Tech in Asia article in June, Vaniday was reported to have pivoted its business to focus solely Southeast Asia, after cutting its operations in Australia, Italy, the UAE, Russia and Brazil. Vaniday was reported to have raised funds at that time, and was planning to raise additional capital by end-2019 to support its market expansion plans.
Title: Planswell CEO attributes company downfall to social media storm in investor email
Toronto-based fintech startup Planswell was unable to recover after a publicized sexual harassment case led to the loss of much-needed financing. According to an investor note obtained by BetaKit,
Our revenue was up sharply, our culture was fantastic. We had a ton of investors ready to put together a $20M round and several international expansions had just signed. That’s when an ex-employee caused a social media storm around a situation that happened over a year ago.
Title: Crowdfunding disaster Coolest Cooler is shutting down and blaming tariffs for its downfall
Product: Coolest Cooler
Widely regarded as one of Kickstarter’s greatest failures, Coolest Cooler finally ceased operations in December after floundering for 5 years. The initial project, which promised a cooler that featured a blender and a bluetooth speaker, raised more than $13M, but ultimately failed to deliver its coolers to more than 20,000 people. In a project update, the team blamed the trade war,
As you may know, late last year the U.S. government imposed 10% tariffs on many products imported from China. … However, as of early summer, the “trade war” continued, and the tariff was increased to 25% which affected our entire Coolest product line.
Title: Electric skateboard startup Inboard is for sale and all employees have been laid off
Product: Inboard Technology
Santa Cruz-based Inboard Technology began as a Kickstarter project that raised more than $400K to develop a popular electric skateboard. But its failed pivot to electric scooters sank the startup. In a memo posted on its website, the CEO writes,
Inboard had a very large order it was ready to fulfill to one of the largest European scooter operators, but in the time it took to bring the ruggedized version of the G1 to market, coupled with dynamic and changing vehicle regulations in Europe, our product development timeline outstretched our financial runway. Throughout this process we had received multiple assurances from our key investors that they would lead a bridge financing if we hit key goals. Inboard hit those goals, but in the end the investors decided they would rather seek the liquidation value of the company rather than take the risk on funding the bridge.
Title: WeWork is shutting down a restaurant coworking startup it acquired only 4 months ago
WeWork shuttered restaurant-based coworking subsidiary Spacious after acquiring it just 4 months earlier. Spacious is just one of many startups, such as Managed by Q and Meetup, that have become collateral in WeWork’s implosion of an IPO. According to Recode,
“As part of WeWork’s renewed focus on its core workspace business, Spacious will close its doors on December 31, 2019. We regret any disruption that this may cause to you or your business,” reads an email sent to Spacious customers on Thursday.
Title: To everything there is a reason
After 11 years, music streaming platform 8tracks shuttered, citing lack of revenue and increased competition from big players. It had previously raised nearly $7.5M from Andreessen Horowitz, Uncork Capital, Index Ventures, and more. In a blog post, the founder wrote,
We lost listenership, in large part, because Spotify was able to satisfactorily address listener needs for music discovery and activity- and mood-based listening over time, as it improved its offering, reducing the relative appeal of 8tracks’ early lead in delivering on its unique value propositions through a crowd-curated model.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2019 Third Update (10/16/19)
This quarter saw the fall of several big startups, including a number of companies that raised over $50M in funding before going under — such as Hong Kong unicorn Tink Labs, which reached a valuation of $1.5B before shuttering.
Notable startup deaths ranged across industries, from AR/VR and healthcare to autonomous vehicles and agtech. In their final statements, shuttered company executives frequently cited common factors like a drop-off in funding and increased competition, especially within emerging industries.
Scandals have also plagued this latest cohort of failed startups, from an IP battle over apples, to bribes offered to doctors, to an FBI raid on a poop–testing company with questionable billing practices.
Read on for 12 post-mortems of startups that have shut down since July.
Title: Inside the Unraveling of Tink Labs
Product: Tink Labs (aka Hi Inc.)
In one of the largest startup deaths this year, Hong Kong-based Tink Labs, which provided free-to-use smartphones in hotel rooms, ended its services in over 600,000 hotel rooms across 82 countries. According to the Financial Times,
Interviews conducted by the FT with several former employees have painted a picture of an organisation that pursued growth too aggressively, falling back to earth when its profits did not meet its vision. [Founder] Terence Kwok declined to comment on “potential ongoing labour disputes” or “business transaction details” in terms of outstanding bills. “I am trying to do what I can, but a lot of things are now out of my hands,” he said.
Title: Health Testing Startup uBiome Files for Chapter 7 With Plans To Shut Down
Medical diagnostics startup uBiome was unable to weather an FBI investigation and related fallout from the reveal of the company’s predatory billing practices. According to a Forbes article about the shutdown,
“uBiome was routinely billing patients… multiple times without their consent, prompting insurance plans to start rejecting these claims. The company also pressured its doctors to approve tests with minimal oversight… The practices were in service of an aggressive growth plan that focused on increasing the number of billable tests served…
The company’s cofounders have resigned, it faces law enforcement scrutiny over its billing practices, it’s currently in bankruptcy proceedings, and it filed a motion Tuesday to move from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would mean liquidating its assets and shutting down.”
Title: East Bay blood testing company closes, laying off 71
Medical testing startup Singulex closed in the wake of a whistleblower suit that claimed it was billing federal health programs for unnecessary blood tests that it pressured upon healthcare providers. Singulex paid a $1.25M fine in August 2018 and shuttered in July 2019.
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s Special Agent in Charge Chris D. Hendrickson said,
Today’s result resolves serious allegations of fraud against Singulex and is a victory for the U.S. taxpayer. DCIS and its law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue those who attempt to defraud the U.S. military’s health care program and other health care programs in order to ensure the health care system works for U.S. military personnel and their families.
Title: Another high-flying, heavily funded AR headset startup is shutting down
DAQRI, a Los Angeles-based AR startup, found itself floundering after burning through investments in excess of $250M and acquiring 4 other entities. Internal sources cited difficulties common among forerunners in emerging industries, including competitors with extensive corporate backing and difficulties training users to use the technology. According to TechCrunch,
Daqri’s shutdown is only the latest among heavily funded augmented reality startups seeking to court enterprise customers…
Daqri faced substantial challenges from competing headset makers, including Magic Leap and Microsoft, which were backed by more expansive war chests and institutional partnerships. While the headset company struggled to compete for enterprise customers, Daqri benefited from investor excitement surrounding the broader space. That is, until the investment climate for AR startups cooled.
Title: Moving on to new realities…
Vreal, a VR platform where video game streamers could share their virtual environment with viewers who could then interact in that VR space, called it quits after raising almost $12M in a Series A round in Q1’18. According to a statement from the company:
Unfortunately, the VR market never developed as quickly as we all had hoped, and we were definitely ahead of our time. As a result, Vreal is shutting down operations and our wonderful team members are moving on to other opportunities.
Title: Reach Robotics – End of the Road
Product: Reach Robotics
Reach Robotics, the startup behind gaming robot MekaMon, shut down after being unable to make it in the hypercompetitive consumer hardware industry. Both co-founders weighed in with their thoughts around the life and challenges of Reach Robotics.
Co-founder Silas Adekunle:
The consumer robotics sector is an inherently challenging space – especially for a start-up. Over the past six years, we have taken on this challenge with consistent passion and ingenuity. From the first trials of development to accelerators and funding rounds, we have fought to bring MekaMon to life and into the hands of the next generation of tech pioneers. Unfortunately, for Reach Robotics, in its current form at least, today marks the end of that journey.
Co-founder John Rees:
I’m immensely proud of what we were able to achieve as a team. Despite this final outcome, I’m certain we have touched a few lives in a positive way and hopefully inspired some of the next generation of scientists, engineers and artists. […] I’m still taking stock of it all but the short version is that it is true what they say – that “hardware is hard” and consumer hardware is even harder due to the reliance on the Christmas sales period.
Title: Low-Cost LiDAR Startup Oryx Vision Shuts Down
Product: Oryx Vision
Israel-based lidar startup Oryx Vision made the unusual move this year to preemptively shut down its operations — not due to running out of funds, as is frequently the case, but because the founders saw the roadblocks ahead of them in the autonomous vehicle space and decided that Oryx was not equipped to survive into the future. Oryx Vision will be returning approximately $40M to investors as part of this decision.
Per co-founder Ran Wellingstein:
Currently, the architecture of the autonomous vehicle is simply not converging, so a venture-backed company will not be able to justify the investment that will still be needed… There was a lot of deliberation and investors were prepared to keep going, but we saw that LIDAR was becoming a game of giants and as a small company, it would be difficult to continue operating and return investments.
Title: The death of a promising battery startup exposes harsh market realities
Product: Pellion Technologies
Rechargeable battery startup Pellion shuttered due to rising concerns around its ability to yield profit in the autonomous vehicle industry. The company developed a lithium-metal battery which could support drones, but not a mass market of electric vehicles. Quartz reports,
According to former employees, all of whom requested anonymity, Khosla Ventures lost confidence that Pellion could make enough money serving a niche market. The lithium-metal technology worked for products like drones, but the big money in the battery world is in the automotive sector. Investors weren’t willing to sink the money needed to develop the battery for electric vehicles.
Title: Ag tech startup Phytelligence shuts down after losing dispute over Cosmic Crisp apple variety
After losing the rights to its key product (a new strain of apples named Cosmic Crisps) in a legal battle with Washington State University, agtech startup Phytelligence closed its doors for good. Geekwire writes,
In its lawsuit, Phytelligence claimed that WSU [Washington State University] wrongly blocked the company from commercializing Cosmic Crisp. In its own counter-lawsuit, WSU alleged that Phytelligence improperly sold thousands of Cosmic Crisp trees to a grower.
In his message to shareholders, [Phytelligence CEO] Glen Donald wrote that the board “has concluded that it is in the best interests of the company to make a general assignment of its assets for the benefit of creditors and to file a petition to appoint a general receiver to administer and liquidate such assets.”
Title: Matrix Partners-backed health-tech startup DocTalk winds up operations
DocTalk, an India-based startup backed by Y Combinator and Matrix Partners, folded after trying to pivot from being a mobile communications platform between doctors and patients to an electronic medical record (EMR) solutions entity. According to people privy to the shutdown:
The planned transition into the electronic medical record solution (EMR) business from the existing business model didn’t yield the acceleration that it needed. Subsequently, the company has shuttered the entire health-tech concept and laid off a majority of its employees.
Title: Instagram Versus Reality at Failed Interior-Design Start-up Homepolish
Homepolish, a customizable interior design startup, built a business around sparkling marketing and promises of highly vetted designers that it ultimately couldn’t follow through on. After high-profile denouncements of Homepolish and documentation of the shoddy work done by the startup, the company fell apart — but not before CEO Noa Santos announced that designers would not be paid owed wages and customers would not be able to get refunds. The New York Magazine writes,
The Homepolish name was tarnished in recent months, notably after Ilana Wiles, an Instagram influencer known as @MommyShorts, started posting to her 160,000 followers about her “absolutely awful home renovation experience” with the company earlier in 2019.
“We frankly don’t have the funding left to run the business on an ongoing basis,” [CEO] Noa Santos said in a video conference call on Wednesday with the company’s remaining employees, according to a recording provided to Intelligencer… Santos said that designers will not be paid any owed earnings and customers will not be receiving refunds. Santos urged the more than 200 people on the call to “think intelligently … as opposed to jumping to legal action which could work very much against all of us.”
Mac & Mia
Title: Kids’ Clothing Startup Mac & Mia Shuts Down
Product: Mac & Mia
Kids’ apparel delivery service Mac & Mia announced it would cease operations after a short-lived run that began in 2018. The company was unable to carve out its desired niche and had to close shop in late August 2019. According to ChicagoInno,
Mac & Mia faced a host of competitors in the children’s delivery box space, including the aforementioned Stitch Fix, which launched its kids clothing service in 2018. Stitch Fix went public in 2017 and has a market cap around $2.7 billion. At least 20 other upstarts have launched similar delivery services for children’s clothes.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2019 Second Update (6/19/2019)
A slew of startups have wound down in the last few months across a broad range of industries. San Francisco-based robot maker Anki shuttered after using up its sizable pile of cash, while low-cost Icelandic airline Wow Air abruptly ceased operations after failing to secure new financing. Other notable closures include customized footwear maker Shoes of Prey, which decided that its approach didn’t have enough mainstream appeal, and Stratolaunch, a satellite launching company founded by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Read on for 13 post-mortems of startups which have shut down since the beginning of March.
Title: Robotics startup Anki shuts down after burning through almost $200 million
Consumer AI robotics company Anki had raised over $200M from prominent investors but the company wasn’t able to stay afloat after reportedly failing to attract a new round of investment or an acquirer. Anki posted a statement on its website:
It is with a heavy heart to inform you that Anki has ceased product development and we are no longer manufacturing robots. To our partners and customers, thank you for all your support and joining us on this journey to bring robotics and AI out of research labs and into your homes.
Title: Space firm founded by billionaire Paul Allen closing operations
Stratolaunch was founded by late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and aimed to launch satellites from planes. The Reuters report of its shuttering came just weeks after it had completed its first test flight:
The decision to set an exit strategy was made late last year by Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, chair of Vulcan Inc and trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust, one of the four people and the fifth industry source said.
Jody Allen decided to let the carrier aircraft fly to honor her brother’s wishes and also to prove the vehicle and concept worked, one of the four people said.
Title: Iceland’s Wow Air Shuts Down After Failing to Raise New Cash
Product: Wow Air
Low-cost airline Wow Air abruptly shut down in March after being unable to secure additional funding. Bloomberg’s report included part of a letter its Chairman Skuli Mogensen sent to Wow Air staff:
“We have run out of time and have unfortunately not been able to secure funding for the company,” Chairman Skuli Mogensen said in a letter to employees. “I will never be able to forgive myself for not taking action sooner.”
Title: Panda TV Officially Shuts Down its Service
Product: Panda TV
The Esports Observer reported on Chinese video streaming service Panda TV shutting down:
On March 8, Panda TV announced that the company was in a potential bankruptcy, posting an image of its panda mascot facing a sunset, alongside the word “Bye.” The reasons behind this bankruptcy have not yet been officially published.
Title: Roadstar.ai: The Rise and Fall of a Self-Driving Startup
Autonomous vehicle startup Roadstar.ai was developing autonomous vehicles and had raised around $128M in 2018, but its co-founder was mired by allegations of fraud. Synced Review described the situation in its coverage:
Things however quickly turned ugly for the promising startup. In an announcement published on WeChat in late January, Tong and Heng announced they had fired Zhou, accusing him of receiving kickbacks during fundraising, deliberately hiding codes, and putting false data into a government regulatory report.
Seven Dreamers Laboratories
Title: Laundroid company folds before its giant robot does
Product: Seven Dreamers Laboratories
Panasonic-backed Seven Dreamers Laboratories offered a laundry machine which aimed to act as a combined washer, dryer, and clothes folder. Engadget thought that the machine was trying to do too much:
Clearly, the product was too ambitious. Seven Dreamers had planned a simpler, but still potentially-impressive version that merely folded and sorted clothes. The first-gen model still required a complex combination of robotics, image analysis and artificial intelligence to achieve its goals, however.
Title: No investor found: Lesara’s online store is now offline
The German online fashion retailer couldn’t keep operations going after failing to find an investor or a buyer, according to neuhandeln.de:
At the beginning of February, BBL announced that a planned investor solution for the insolvent online retailer had “burst at the last minute.” Thus, the provisional insolvency administrator Christian Graf Brockdorff had negotiated the final details of a purchase agreement with a strategic investor. Shortly before the signature, the investor had “pulled back unexpectedly late at night.”
Title: “Crazy Teacher” announced that it will stop operating
Product: Crazy Teacher
Chinese home tutoring app Crazy Teacher — which included Tencent as one of its investors — closed in April, as reported by Pencil News:
The crazy teacher app page displays the words “Goodbye” and writes: “The madness has ended, thank you for the past.”
Title: Scientific wellness startup Arivale closes abruptly in ‘tragic’ end to vision to transform personal health
Geekwire reported that genetic testing startup Arivale shut down suddenly:
The decision was a surprise to many Arivale employees and customers. In a message to Arivale customers this afternoon, the company attributed the decision to “the simple fact that the cost of providing the service exceeds what our customers can pay for it.”
Title: Drone maker Aria Insights, formerly CyPhy Works, shuts down
Product: Aria Insights
Aria Insights — backed by high-profile investors such as Lux Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners — offered drones which were designed to gather data from challenging environments. The Robot Report says that Aria Insights was in the middle of rebrand when it closed:
CyPhy Works rebranded as Aria Insights in January 2019 to focus more on using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help analyze data collected by drones. “A number of our partners were collecting and housing massive amounts of information with our drones, but there was no service in the industry to quickly and efficiently turn that data into actionable insights,” Lance Vanden Brook, former CyPhy and current Aria CEO said at the time of the rebranding.
Shoes of Prey
Title: The Shoes of Prey Journey Ends
Product: Shoes of Prey
Co-founder Michael Fox announced in a blog post that the brand was shutting down, citing a lack of demand for their customization approach:
We learnt the hard way that mass market customers don’t want to create, they want to be inspired and shown what to wear. They want to see the latest trends, what celebrities and Instagram influencers are wearing and they want to wear exactly that — both the style and the brand.
Title: HomeShare Closing Its Doors
HomeShare aimed to help users find affordable accommodation but, after failing to secure new financing, the company announced it was closing in a post on its website:
HomeShare encountered unexpected financial constraints arising from a financing that did not materialize. In response, we cut costs by changing our service and significantly reducing staff. Unfortunately, these measures were insufficient and HomeShare no longer has the capital to continue to operate.
Title: Sunsetting the Fabric App
In a blog post, the Y-Combinator graduate said it couldn’t make its memory curation app a sustainable product:
We’ve devoted all our time and energy into making the product we think should exist in the world. In the process, we believe we’ve pushed the boundaries on what technology should accomplish for users, and the experiences that personal data is capable of powering. However, we have been pushing against headwinds in the industry which make it unsustainable to stay afloat while standing by our principles.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2019 First Update (2/28/2019)
In the last few months, we’ve seen a number of company shutdowns across several different sectors. Former unicorn Aiwujiwu, a China-based online property listing platform, ceased operations just a few years after reaching its billion-dollar valuation (2015). Other notable failures span industries from food delivery (Munchery) to transportation (Arrivo, Chariot).
Read on for 11 post-mortems of startups that have shut down since mid-November 2018.
Title: Chinese Online Property ‘Unicorn’ Aiwujiwu Shuts Down
While no official statement has been made, the former unicorn’s website appears to be inactive:
Aiwujiwu, the Chinese online property listings platform and “unicorn,” had ceased regular operations as of the end of January 2019, according to mainland news reports. The company is in a liquidation phase, and services are no longer available on its website (www.iwjw.com) and app.
Title: Hyperloop startup Arrivo is shutting down
The company hasn’t announced its shutdown, but The Verge shared some information:
Futuristic transportation startup Arrivo shut down its operations this week, The Verge has learned. All of the company’s 30 or so employees were furloughed in late November, with about half being completely laid off at the end of that month … Now, the Los Angeles startup is shutting down because it hasn’t been able to secure new funding, these people say. Remaining employees were informed Friday via text messages seen by The Verge, or by phone.
Title: Important Update from Chariot
The Ford-owned shuttle transportation company announced its decision to cease operations in a blog post:
Following significant consideration, we have decided to close the Chariot operation. Friday, January 25th is the last day we will offer service on commuter routes in the U.K., and Friday, February 1 will be the last day we will offer service on our commuter routes in the U.S. We will cease all operations across the US and in the UK by the end of March.
Title: Predictive Analytics Company Fifth Dimension Shuts Down
Product: Fifth Dimension
According to Israel’s CTech:
Tel Aviv-based predictive analytics company Fifth Dimension Holdings Ltd. has shut down, selling its operations and letting all employees go.
Former deputy head of the Mossad Ram Ben-Barak, the company’s president for the past two years, confirmed the move to Calcalist Saturday. “The company is pivoting,” he said. “We sold our products, and we did let all employees go, but everything was done in an orderly fashion and without drama. We had problems with investors, and decided to change direction. The employees and suppliers received what they were owed.”
Title: Lights out
Product: Lighthouse AI
Lighthouse AI’s CEO Alex Teichman shared a farewell message on the company’s website:
I am incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work the Lighthouse team accomplished – delivering useful and accessible intelligence for our homes via advanced AI and 3D sensing. Unfortunately, we did not achieve the commercial success we were looking for and will be shutting down operations in the near future.
Title: Thank you for making a place for us at your table
As a player in the increasingly crowded food delivery space, Munchery writes:
Today, with heavy heart, we’re announcing that Munchery is closing its doors and ending operations effective immediately. Any outstanding orders with Munchery will be cancelled and refunded. Please allow 2-3 business days for these refunds to process.
Title: Breast pump start-up Naya Health shuts down after failing to raise money
Product: Naya Health
The women’s health company emailed its users explaining its decision to shut down (per CNBC):
We are sorry to have stayed silent for so long. We have been working behind the scenes to either find a way to raise enough capital to face the increase in manufacturing costs or find the company a new home where our technology could benefit from more resources. During this process, we were unable to share Naya’s status publically for legal reasons. Ultimately, it has become clear that the only course of action for Naya Health is to close its doors.
Title: Apple removed Facebook’s Onavo from the App Store for gathering app data
The Facebook-owned app was pulled from the App Store for violating data collection policies, according to Apple (via TechCrunch):
We work hard to protect user privacy and data security throughout the Apple ecosystem. With the latest update to our guidelines, we made it explicitly clear that apps should not collect information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing and must make it clear what user data will be collected and how it will be used.
Poppy Care Company
Title: With Heavy Hearts, Poppy is Discontinuing its Services
Product: Poppy Care Company
The platform connecting families and caregivers addresses its shortcomings in a blog post:
Turns out it IS possible to build a delightful, trustworthy, and convenient experience connecting caregivers and families. The challenge has been the underlying business model that would enable such a community of families and caregivers to grow at scale. While there are many important complexities, it really boils down to the core economics of what it costs to deliver this end-to-end experience.
Title: Google parent to pull plug on bipedal robot development
The Google-owned robotics unit has been shut down:
Following Softbank’s decision not to move forward with the Schaft acquisition,” an Alphabet spokesperson told Nikkei, “we explored many options but ultimately decided to wind down Schaft. We’re working with employees to help them find jobs elsewhere within or outside of Alphabet.
Title: Sophia has closed
The company, which sought to match people with life counselors, now redirects users to other platforms seeking mental wellness resources:
We have closed our business as of November 2018 and are no longer matching new customers to life counselors.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2018 Third Update (11/14/2018)
This fall has brought a wave of startup shutdowns from sectors across the board. Some were wrapped in high-profile controversy and drama, like Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos. Others went more quietly — some, like watch rental company Eleven James, so quiet that no official shutdowns were announced to the public.
Read on for 18 post-mortems of startups that have shut down since August 2018.
Title: Drone startup Airware crashes, shuts down after burning $118M
In a statement, drone company Airware confirmed its shutdown:
History has taught us how hard it can be to call the timing of a market transition. We have seen this play out first hand in the commercial drone marketplace. We were the pioneers in this market and one of the first to see the power drones could have in the commercial sector. Unfortunately, the market took longer to mature than we expected. As we worked through the various required pivots to position ourselves for long term success, we ran out of financial runway. As a result, it is with a heavy heart that we notified our team, customers, and partners that we will wind down the business.
Title: Alta Motors reportedly shutting down production of [its] electric motorcycles
Product: Alta Motors
The company hasn’t announced its shutdown, but Electrek shared some information:
According to multiple independent sources, Alta Motors is winding down business operations and shuttering [its] electric motorbike production line. The award-winning startup has recently faced issues securing enough funding to continue operations after several investment and partnership deals fell through.
Title: Fake meds draw concerns from online pharmacy users
The circumstances of the online Canadian pharmacy’s shutdown by the FDA were reported as follows:
According to the indictment in this case, Canada Drugs and some of its subsidiaries misled customers about the safety of the drugs it sold saying the medicine was manufactured in ‘FDA-approved’ facilities overseas. But the indictment states the online pharmacy really ‘…did not know where the drugs it purchased were being manufactured, or who had been handling the drugs’
Title: Center City’s CloudMine, $6M in debt, files for bankruptcy
An email statement from healthcare data platform CloudMine details its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing:
The company’s Board of Directors reached this decision following recent actions taken by the company’s senior secured lender and the inability of the company to close funding through alternative sources. As part of the Chapter 7 process, oversight of the company will transfer to a trustee. Prior to the commencement of its Chapter 7 proceeding, the company has taken steps to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of customer data pending the appointment of the trustee.
Title: Defy Media, home of YouTube superstars Smosh, is shutting down
Product: Defy Media
The digital media company released the following statement:
Regretfully, Defy Media has ceased operations today … We are extremely proud of what we accomplished here at Defy and in particular want to thank all the employees who worked here. We deeply regret the impact that this has had on them today… Unfortunately, market conditions got in the way of us completing our mission.
Title: ‘We ran out of money’
The company, which sought to match patients with clinical trials, shut down just two months after its launch:
The company let go of all of its approximately 85 employees on Oct. 16 … About 60 percent of those employees worked at Driver’s headquarters in San Francisco; the rest were based in Shanghai, New York, and Boise, Idaho.
Driver had been trying to raise another round of funding this fall, but it wasn’t making money fast enough to convince investors to give it the capital it needed, Driver CEO and co-founder Dr. William Polkinghorn said.
Title: What’s Happening to Subscription Watch Club Eleven James?
Product: Eleven James
Reports describe the quiet shutdown of the watch company:
According to Robi Cai, the company’s former head of corporate strategy and development from September 2016 through June 2018, earlier this year Eleven James tried to raise additional funds to allow them to continue operating. When the company was unable to raise said funds, the company’s main lender pulled its existing line of credit, causing the company’s management and board to begin winding down operations around the middle of June 2018. This process involves reclaiming lent watches that are currently with members. Cai’s understanding is that members who have returned all watches would no longer be charged their membership fees. At present, he says that he understands there to only be a handful of employees remaining at the company.
Title: I’d do it all over again, says founder of failed start-up Fastbee
Fastbee founder describes his experience with the food delivery startup:
Founder Khoo Kar Kiat stayed positive despite his company’s shutdown:
Unfortunately, it could not withstand a double whammy of competition from new players and fundraising difficulties that soon came along. The start-up had its last day on Aug 14.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained, said Mr Khoo.
‘Maybe I should be happy that I lasted for about two years … After all, statistics out there say about 90% of start-ups fail in a year.’
Halo+ Smoke Alarm
Title: Dear Halo customers
Product: Halo+ Smoke Alarm
Halo said goodbye to customers in a post:
It is with our sincere apologies that we must let you know that Halo Smart Labs is closing its doors. You may have noticed a lack of available product and support responses, and we apologize for taking so long to let you know what is going on. While we are proud to have created a best in class product, it takes more than a great product to make a great business. Despite the best efforts of our team, ultimately the resources required to continue making and supporting Halo products were beyond our reach.
Title: L Brands Takes Action to Increase Shareholder Value – Announces 2019 Closure of Henri Bendel Stores and Henri Bendel E-Commerce
Product: Henri Bendel
The women’s accessories stores will be shutting down by early 2019:
We are committed to improving performance in the business and increasing shareholder value. As part of that effort, we have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential.
This decision is right for the future growth of our company, but not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family. I want to thank our Bendel associates for their dedication to this iconic brand and to our loyal Bendel customers.
Title: Amazon has shut down Liquavista
The Digital Reader confirmed the screen tech company’s shutdown in an article:
An Amazon rep told me this morning that they ‘can confirm that Liquivista is no longer operating.’ However, they were unable to tell me whether Amazon still be pursuing this tech, if Liquavista’s R&D work been shifted to another unit, or the state of their screen production.
Social network company Path posted a goodbye message on Twitter:
It is with deep regret to announce that Path service will be discontinued. It has been a long journey and we sincerely thank each one of you for your years of love and support Path.
Title: GET ME IN! and Seatwave are shutting down
Ticketmaster addressed the shutdown of its online ticket marketplace in a blog post:
We’re shutting down our sites GET ME IN! and Seatwave.
That’s right, we’ve listened and we hear you: secondary sites just don’t cut it anymore and you’re tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit.
All we want is you, the fan, to be able to safely buy tickets to the events you love.
Title: Theranos is shutting down
The New York Times wrote about the blood testing company and its plans to shutter operations:
‘We are now out of time,’ David Taylor, the company’s chief executive and general counsel, informed investors in an email first reported on Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal, whose in-depth investigation unraveled the company’s claims. Mr. Taylor declined to comment further, saying the letter spoke for itself.
Title: Israeli medical intelligence startup Treato shuts down
The Israeli medical intelligence startup shuttered according to court documents:
The Israeli startup, Treato recently filed for liquidation at the Tel Aviv District Court. Launched in 2011, Treato operated a platform designed to gather and analyze user-generated health-related information and offer insights on medical conditions and medication.
In court documents reviewed by Calcalist (link) the company stated it was unable to secure sufficient funding or get an acquisition offer, and that it is in a state of insolvency. The company reported $352,716 (NIS 1.3 million) in assets and a debt of $8.4 million (NIS 31 million).
Title: Wimdu, Rocket Internet’s Airbnb clone, to shut down this year ‘facing significant business challenges’
The vacation rentals marketplace announced that it would be shutting down by the end of 2018 due to “significant financial and business challenges.”
“The stakeholders and management are working closely with the staff; primary goals are the fair treatment of employees affected by the closure and the management of forward bookings for our guests and hosts,” an announcement on the site reads. “All guests and hosts having 2018 bookings – with a check-in date occurring before or on the 31-December-2018 – will be carried out professionally and reliably. All guests with 2019 bookings – with a check-in date occurring after the 31-December-2018 – will be contacted separately to deal with their respective booking.”
Title: Administrator’s updates
An update on the payday loan provider’s website reads:
Despite efforts to restructure the business, which included an injection of funding by the Group’s shareholders the business was unable to be restored to profitability due to the level of redress claims. As a result, the management team had no alternative but to place the above companies into administration. Following the appointment of Administrators there will be no new lending activity.
Title: Months After Raising $27M, Education Startup Yogome Shuts Down Amid Fraud Allegations
In a team meeting, staff members of the edtech startup were reportedly told:
“The conduct by the previous management has compromised finances and integrity of the company by possibly having committed fraud. The board of directors, as well as its investors and financial advisors, have met over the past few days to investigate and analyze the current state of the company as well as possible fraud… Based on an analysis of the economic situation of the company, and the effects of the crime of fraud, the decision has been made to end the operation definitively, since the company is in a situation of no return.”
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2018 Second Update (8/13/2018)
In the first half of 2018, we’ve seen some big name startups shutter their doors. High profile retail startups including the Kardashian’s DASH Stores, Ivanka Trump’s eponymous brand, and Gap-owned Weddington Way all closed up shop. Another newsworthy startup, Cambridge Analytica began insolvency proceedings amidst controversy.
Retail wasn’t the only sector that has been hit these last few months. We’ve also had popular tech startups Klout and StumbleUpon close operations too. An unsustainable business model was the most often cited reason behind the death of these startups, from travel technology (Bluesmart) to the food delivery space (Chef’d).
Read on for the post-mortems of 16 startups that have shut down from our last update in April 2018.
Title: Troy-based Apprenda stopping operations, investor says
Safeguard CEO and president Brian Sisko gave an update during an earnings call:
[The] firm is “disappointed … that we ultimately weren’t successful with Apprenda.”
“It is pretty unusual for a company to gain the level of traction that Apprenda did,” but the company did “not successfully market itself for exit,” Sisko said.
Apprenda “would have needed … to continue to develop technology and try to catch back up,” Sisko said. “The collective view around the table (was) that it wasn’t appropriate to plow more capital into this opportunity.”
Title: Meal-kit company Chef’d suddenly shut down and laid off its hundreds of employees
In an email sent to employees, founder and CEO Kyle Ransford explained:
We have had some unexpected circumstances with the funding for the business. Due to setbacks with financing, unfortunately, we are ceasing operations for all employees, effective today, July 16, 2018. If we had been successful with these funding efforts, this difficult decision would have been avoided.
Title: A Journey Ends, the Travel Evolution Goes On…
The connected luggage company shared the following note on its website:
We have bittersweet news to share. The changes in policies announced by several major airlines at the end of last year—the banning of smart luggage with non-removable batteries—put our company in an irreversibly difficult financial and business situation. After exploring all the possible options for pivoting and moving forward, the company was finally forced to wind down its operations and explore disposition options, unable to continue operating as an independent entity.
Title: CareSync shuts down
CareSync posted the following message on its website:
This was a very difficult decision and we know that it will have an impact on our customers and our employees. As a company whose mission is to improve patient care and strengthen the relationships between patients and their family members and caregivers, we are deeply saddened that we were not able to continue in that effort.
Title: Thank You and Farewell
The team at Lantern signed off with this message:
We’ve spent the past six years working hard to build a product that is engaging for users, reduces symptoms, and has a sustainable business model. After some trial and error in the direct to consumer and employer spaces, we ultimately pursued a strategy of alignment with traditional healthcare insurance companies. Healthcare moves very slowly and we made the mistake of misjudging the time it would take to achieve sustainable revenue through this approach.
Title: SU is moving to Mix
In a post on Medium, co-founder Garret Camp explained the decision to shutter StumbleUpon:
After careful consideration, we’ve made the decision to focus fully on building Mix and transition StumbleUpon accounts into Mix.com over the next couple months. We have built Mix to work on every browser and smartphone, to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Title: Cambridge Analytica and Scl Elections Commence Insolvency Proceedings and Release Results of Independent Investigation into Recent Allegations
Product: Cambridge Analytica
Cambridge Analytica posted the following press release on its website:
[It] has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the Company into administration.
Title: A Very Sad Goodbye
OSSIC posted a message on its Kickstarter page explaining why the company would not be able to deliver the product:
It is with an extremely heavy heart that we must inform you that OSSIC is shutting down and will be unable to deliver the remaining OSSIC X headphones.
The OSSIC X was an ambitious and expensive product to develop. With funds from the crowdfunding campaign, along with angel investment, we were able to develop the product and ship the initial units. However, the product still requires significantly more capital to ramp to full mass production, and the company is out of money.
Over the last 18 months, we have explored a myriad of financing options, but given VR’s slow start and a number of high profile hardware startup failures, we have been unable to secure the investment required to proceed.
Title: A Letter From The CEO
Founder and CEO Claudia Helming shared this message on the website:
In the last quarter of 2017 we reached profitability and have since been working to cover our costs. At the same time, we had to admit that our growth is stagnating and that we can hardly manage by our own efforts to grow the number of sales on our platform to the desired extent – even our restructuring last year could not change this … Additionally, we haven’t managed to implement enough innovative new ideas over the past few years.
DaWanda is not insolvent. However, we have realised that the risk of no longer being able to keep up is simply too big.
Title: Fieldbook is Shutting Down
In a Medium post, the executive team at Fieldbook explained its decision:
Getting to this decision was gut-wrenching and took months. We still believe in the vision and love the mission. But in the end, we failed to build a sustainable business. Even with a small team, we were never profitable, and we weren’t able to grow our revenue fast enough to get there.
Title: Peer to Peer Micro-Credit Site Puddle Shuts Down
The company sent out an email to employees describing the decision:
In an email circulated by the company, Puddle founders stated that after five years of operation the businesses model was “unsustainable.”
Title: Closing Our DASH Doors
Product: DASH Stores
Kim Kardashian West spoke for her sisters (and co-founders) in a note on her website:
We’ve loved running DASH, but in the last few years, we’ve all grown so much individually. We’ve been busy running our own brands, as well as being moms and balancing work with our families. We know in our hearts that it’s time to move on.
Title: Ivanka Trump Closes $100 Million Fashion Business
Product: Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump released the following statement about her brand shutting down:
When we first started this brand, no one could have predicted the success that we would achieve. After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.
Title: Sunsetting Klout
CEO of parent company Lithium Peter Hess posted a message on the Lithosphere community forums:
I’m writing to let you know that Lithium has made the decision to sunset the Klout service, effective May 25, 2018.
The Klout acquisition provided Lithium with valuable artificial intelligence (AI) and machinelearning capabilities but Klout as a standalone service is not aligned with our long-term strategy.
Title: Team Doughbies is moving on
The team from Doughbies recorded a short video explaining its desire to move on:
Ultimately we shut down because our team is ready to move on to something new.
Title: Weddington Way has closed
Product: Weddington Way
On their website, Weddington Way announced its closure to customers:
We are incredibly disappointed, but also proud of the business that we have worked hard to build over the past seven years. Our mission has been to share joy, which has served both our customers and employees well. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your loyalty and love… and enjoy your upcoming weddings!
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2018 First Update (4/17/2018)
In the last few months, startups have shuttered for reasons ranging from the conventional (Doppler struggled to raise capital to support the production of a complex hardware product), to the regulatory (Coinprism’s CEO cited concerns about the regulatory future of the cryptocurrency space), to the unexpected (connected wine bottle startup Kuvée ran into trouble following fires in Napa Valley).
A number of recently shuttered startups cited fierce incumbent competition as the reason for their closures. Philadelphia-based B2B food delivery startup Zoomer floundered in comparison to UberEats and GrubHub, while video platform Videma had difficulty luring consumers away from established platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Read on for post-mortems of 11 startups that have shuttered since our last update in October 2017.
Title: ‘Colored coins’ startup Coinprism is shutting down
Product: Coinprism web wallet
In an email to CoinDesk, Coinprism founder and CEO Flavien Charlon wrote:
We didn’t see a business model that would have been viable long term. Regulators are starting to pay attention to the [cryptocurrency] space, and activities around blockchain assets (tokens exchanges, ICO tools and services, etc.) are likely to become heavily regulated in the next 5 years. That means some of these services will have to shut down or restrict their activities, some might go to prison, and only a small number of well capitalized companies will successfully adapt to the regulator’s demands.
Title: I can’t wait for you to see what we do next
Shyp CEO Kevin Gibbon published a company post-mortem on LinkedIn after the company shuttered in late March.
Consumer growth slowed. People close to me and the business began to warn that chasing consumers was the wrong strategy. After all, how often do consumers ship things? I didn’t listen.
At the time, I approached everything I did as an engineer. Rather than change direction, I tasked the team with expanding geographically and dreaming up innovative features and growth tactics to further penetrate the consumer market… But, growth at all costs is a dangerous trap that many startups fall into, mine included.
… We decided to keep the popular-but-unprofitable parts of our business running, with small teams of their own behind them. This was a mistake — my mistake. While large, established companies have the financial freedom to explore new product categories for the sake of exploring, for startups it can be irresponsible.
Title: A $178 wine bottle that connects to Wi-Fi raised $6 million from investors, and now the startup is shutting down
Product: Kuvée connected wine bottles
[It] became clear that, to properly educate the market, we would need a much louder voice and considerably more capital. The last year’s Napa fires affected our ability to scale our customer base over the holiday season and hence our ability to raise the funds required to continue building awareness of Kuvée.
Title: An experienced startup founder learns some new lessons
Mike Krupit, CEO of IntroNet, a service for professionals to make and track introductions, wrote a lengthy post about the factors that contributed to the company’s failure:
On the surface, the business didn’t succeed in the first two iterations of IntroNet for the same reason that 90% of tech startups fail: we did not find a product-market fit before the end of our cash. It’s a math equation that is pretty deterministic. Why didn’t we find product-market fit? Perhaps we were solving for a pain (e.g., LinkedIn sucks) instead of a real problem (e.g., I can’t find expertise)? Did we try to change user behavior in a way that wasn’t tractable? Yes, probably all of that.
Title: Dick Costolo explains why he shut down his fitness startup after 8 months: ‘We were up against hard-wired human behavior’
People started using it and then would bail after four weeks or eight weeks. They’d get the flu or they’d travel for work and drop the ball.
…The app triggered a psychological phenom known as the “abstinence violation effect” (AVE).
That’s when people hide from their support group when they fail to meet the group’s expectations, instead of turning to the group for help.
Chorus tried all sorts of things to overcome AVE: having trainers on the platform that could answer questions, allowing people to do one-day challenges, encouraging chatting, and encouraging posting a weekly plan. But people wallowing in the depths of AVE would turn off the notifications.
In other words, thanks to AVE, Chorus was contributing to the very thing it was trying to solve, and making people hide from their workout buddies.
Title: High-tech cooking startup Sansaire shutting down, ceasing production of new sous vide device
We regret to share that Sansaire will be ceasing development of the Delta [cooking device] and the company will ultimately be closing its doors.In short, our relationship with the new production facility broke down and has exhausted available funding and manufacturing routes.
Title: Pet care startup Baroo shuts down as competitors raise hundreds of millions
AmericanInno examined what went wrong at Boston-based pet care app Baroo:
Despite Baroo’s efforts to focus on providing dog walking and pet-sitting services to high-end rental buildings, the startup faced steep competition from well-funded companies that serve more cities.
Wag, for instance, was founded the same year as Baroo, but it has expanded to more than 100 cities after raising exorbitant amounts of venture capital. A few weeks [before Baroo shuttered], the Los Angeles-based company raised a $300 million round from Japanese tech giant SoftBank.
Title: Confirmed: Zoomer is shutting down
Product: Zoomer B2B food delivery service
“Many factors contributed to this decision including local delivery competition (UberEats, GrubHub, among others), Independent Contractor competition, and balancing long-term sustainability for Zoomer in Lexington against the service Zoomer provides restaurants and diners.
Title: So close.
Product: Otto digital locks
Smart lock startup Otto CEO Sam Jadallah wrote a Medium post about the closure of his company, after an acquisition deal failed to go through.
On December 11th, [the buyer] called me and stated they would not complete the acquisition nor revisit the investment proposal. I was stunned. The reason is still not understood. We had extended our cash to get to the closing date, and now were left without alternatives.
…I define startups as companies that don’t have control of their own destiny because they rely on investor cash infusions to operate. When asked, “How’s business?”, I always replied “I don’t have a business yet, we’re still a startup.” Startups are vulnerable to market financing conditions and events such as what we experienced. This year, 2017, was a particularly harsh year for hardware startups. Additionally each day carried the potential of a new existential threat, from product to supplier to market to financing to people to regulatory to competitive.
Title: Goodbye for now
Product: Vidme video platform
Many creators with millions of subscribers on YouTube and Facebook were initially attracted to Vidme’s model, but faced difficulty transitioning audiences from their home platforms. Convincing people to use (and keep using) a new platform is hard, leaving many creators locked in. Both Facebook and YouTube also actively deprecate content shared from competing platforms (Vidme’s social traffic dropped markedly once Facebook began to prioritize its native player).
Without a massive captive audience already on the platform, new channels struggled to find immediate growth. As such, creators didn’t remain active long enough for us to achieve sufficient network effects across channels.
Lacking a critical audience size, we struggled to attract direct advertisers to help offset our infrastructure costs, leaving few resources to spend on product innovation and attracting new audience.
Vidme co-founder Warren Shaeffer additionally added in a separate email:
Unfortunately we didn’t see a path to sustainability as an independent VOD platform in the face of competition from both Google and Facebook.
Title: Dear customers, Once-Hot, Smart-Earbud Startup Doppler Labs To Shut Down
Product: Doppler Labs‘ smart earbuds
A letter on Doppler’s website read:
So what happened? To put it simply, over the past months, we took hundreds of meetings in an attempt to secure the necessary capital to continue running our business and build our next product — which would have been a true alternative to traditional hearing aids. However, we couldn’t find the needed capital to develop another complex hardware product.
In an interview with Forbes, Doppler CEO Noah Kraft explained further:
The market has shifted remarkably for hardware. We are incredibly bullish on the Here Two, and the OTC Hearing Aid Act has passed, but we need real capital to do it. The feedback we continually got is, ‘we are not investing in hardware, and we especially are not investing in hardware at these numbers.’ It’s too high a risk even for the Valley.
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2017 Third Update (10/31/17)
Since midsummer, the consumer hardware space has continued to claim its share of high-profile, VC-backed casualties — including Juicero’s $400 juicer-as-a-platform, Teforia’s $1,500 tea infuser, and Jawbone’s lineup of high-design (but rarely shipped) wearable fitness trackers.
But overpriced, over-hyped hardware products weren’t the only “innovations” we said goodbye to: we also recently witnessed the deaths of startups working in mobile AR, e-commerce, digital media, and more.
Read on for post-mortems on 10 of the latest startups to bite the dust.
Title: Juicero can’t “carry forward the Juicero mission”
Product: The Juicero Cold-Press Juice “Platform”
In order to fulfill our mission, we announced last month that we would shift our resources to focus on lowering the price of the Press and Produce Packs. We began identifying ways that we could source, manufacture and distribute at a lower cost to consumers.
During this process, it became clear that creating an effective manufacturing and distribution system for a nationwide customer base requires infrastructure that we cannot achieve on our own as a standalone business.
We are confident that to truly have the long-term impact we want to make, we need to focus on finding an acquirer with an existing national fresh food supply chain who can carry forward the Juicero mission.
Title: My Mobile AR Start-Up Died So Yours Doesn’t Have To
Product: Blin.gy App
Blin.gy founder David wrote a 1700-word Medium post with lessons from his startup’s lifecycle. Three notable excerpts:
First Attempts: Blin.gy was a pivot from our earlier app, Chosen, which attempted to gamify the performance competition space.
The Pivot: We came up with a fresh take on the plethora of AR-style apps that create visual effects based on face detection and tracking… [Poor user experience] had a big impact on our retention metrics. We needed 40% day-one returns and were closer to 25%. The clock kept ticking.
The Maddening Race: We set up 18 VC meetings and hit the road, hard. The feedback was eye-opening and generally the same: “Really great technology and vision. But how does this become a platform?”… We didn’t have a compelling answer.
Title: Dear Teforia Customers and Partners
Product: Teforia Tea Infusor
In our mission to deliver the best tea experience, we didn’t compromise on the Teforia Infuser technology, quality or the premium tea packaged within our Sips. The glass within the infusion globe and carafe are hand blown by a glass artisan, one at a time. We spent a tremendous amount of time pioneering our Sips tea container to be 90% compostable and completely recyclable. We went to these extraordinary lengths because we believe premium loose leaf tea should be delivered in the most delicate and sustainable way possible….
However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space.
Title: Jawbone to Be Liquidated as Rahman Moves to Health Startup
The Information broke the news of Jawbone’s demise based on insights from a source close to the company.
Jawbone co-founder and CEO Hosain Rahman has founded a new company called Jawbone Health Hub that will make health-related hardware and software services, according to the person. Many employees of Jawbone moved to the new firm earlier this year, the person said. Jawbone Health will service Jawbone’s devices going forward, said the person.
A notice sent to creditors said Jawbone entered into insolvency proceedings under California law on June 19. A company has been set up to liquidate Jawbone’s assets. Jawbone hired Sherwood Partners to handle the matter. The notice says creditors have 180 days to file a claim.
Title: Goodbye, Hello.
Product: Hello‘s Sense smart sleep sensor
It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that Hello will soon be shutting down. The past few weeks we have been working hard to find the right home for Sense and we are still focused on that.
When we first launched Sense, sleep was one of the most neglected part of our lives. Three years later, for many, it is now rightly recognised as perhaps the most important pillar of our health and wellness, alongside exercise and diet. I am incredibly happy that we were able to play a small part in changing the conversation around sleep.
The past few months have been incredibly tough, especially on the team of Hello. For that I’m incredibly sorry.
Title: Auto startup Pearl shuts down
Product: Pearl Automation‘s wireless rear-view camera
Pearl’s demise was first reported by Axios.
- What happened: Early product sales disappointed, which was exacerbated by a high burn rate.
- What next? The Pearl Automation team received several “acqui-hire” offers, but opted instead to shut down and part ways, according to a source close to the situation.
- Background: Pearl was founded in 2014 by three ex-Apple iPod engineers, and hired dozens of other ex-Apple employees. It eventually settled on the wireless rear-view camera as a first step in developing autonomous driving technology — and raised $50 million in VC funding from Accel, Shasta Ventures, Venrock, and Wellcome Trust.
Title: How Wikimart.ru went bankrupt after raising dozens of millions
Product: Wikimart‘s B2C e-commerce marketplace
East-West Digital News reported on how international sanctions, mismanagement, and strategic missteps contributed to the failure of this Russian e-commerce platform that had raised $81M in disclosed funding. Six months prior to Wikimart’s July 2017 demise, co-founder Maxim Faldin wrote the following note on the company’s Facebook page.
After almost a two-year break, I have spent two days at the company. Majority shareholders abandoned it. The company does not have assets to save and competencies to preserve. Twenty months of my absence have allowed the “professional” top managers to kill the company using the money of rich oligarchs. They have spent (in rubles) twice (!) more than we, Kamil Kurmakaev and I, spent since the company’s inception in 2008 till August 2014. And EVERYTHING has been lost or stolen — mostly lost.”
Title: When the money runs out
Product: Fresco News‘ social reporting platform
The Outline referenced CB Insights’ failure intelligence in an in-depth post-mortem on this digital media startup.
“Quick update: things are currently looking positive for paychecks to go out tomorrow,” Meyer said in a June 29 memo. Fresco’s employees spent the next day awaiting news about their paychecks, only to find out that Meyer was having an “emergency meeting with executives” in the afternoon. Around 4 p.m., Fresco’s head of community marketing, Johnathan Hamiter, began sending employees private Slack messages saying funding seemed “pretty bleak” and encouraging them to look for other jobs.
At 9 p.m., Meyer laid off the entire company — save for Fresco’s executives and anyone who wanted to stay on as a “volunteer” — via Slack.
Title: Package delivery startup Doorman is shutting down
Excerpts from a TechCrunch report:
The startup sent a letter over the weekend letting customers know it would no longer be in business in two weeks….
Doorman admitted nearly one year ago the model was so popular it was losing money and had to change tack.
The monthly delivery price jumped to a whopping $89 for the premium subscription, with an additional fee per package….
Unfortunately, it seems the price jump also wasn’t enough to save the company. Doorman says it will no longer accept incoming shipments after September 29th and that those who use their Doorman address for online shipments should update their information.
“We deeply apologize for all the inconvenience this causes you,” the letter says. “It has been an honor to work with you in helping us build and improve the Doorman experience and it has been a privilege to serve you.”
Title: Raptr is shutting down this month
Raptr, the online optimization platform founded by former pro gamer Dennis “Thresh” Fong a decade ago, is about to be shuttered.
“We are sad to announce that we will be closing Raptr on September 30th, 2017. We want to start by thanking you for your support over the past 10 years,” Fong announced on September 1.
“The world is different today than when we first launched Raptr. Many companies offer game optimization tools. Having an independent platform to do this is no longer necessary.”
Startup Failure Post-Mortems 2017 Second Update (6/9/17)
The first half of 2017 has seen plenty of startup deaths – some expected, some less so. Most surprising was the sudden shutdown of Sprig, a startup in the beleaguered food-delivery space that first received funding in 2013. Meanwhile, two former industry leaders also closed their doors: Adtech platform AudienceScience shut down after losing a major client, and social bookmarking pioneer del.icio.us finally went dark after surviving multiple acquisitions. (May its bookmarks rest in peace.) Read on for the reasons 22 startups shut off the lights since early February.
Title: Sprig Couldn’t Cut It In Food Delivery Space
“No question, I’m sad that the Sprig model did not work out,” CEO Gagan Biyani said in an email circulated to the app’s users. “The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge.”
Sprig had raised $56.7 million to cook and deliver its own gourmet meals in the San Francisco area, but insiders said it was losing six figures monthly and could not expand the service into other cities.
Title: Car startup Beepi sold for parts after potential exits to Fair, and then DGDG, broke down
Riding on the hype of transportation startups and marketplaces, Beepi may have raised too much, too soon. “They were running the business to raise money, and then to get someone else to take it on,” was how one person described it.
One investor in the startup said that the founders were too aggressive in pushing for higher valuations. Indeed, co-founder Alejandro Resnik, the CEO, told the WSJ in 2015 that it was looking to raise a “monster round” of $300 million at a $2 billion valuation to fuel its national expansion.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Loki” Episode 4 — “The Nexus Event.”
The fourth episode of “Loki” ended on a shocking note that left us all wondering what’s going to happen next — and that’s somewhat of an understatement.
What was the ending of ‘Loki’ this week?
In the fourth episode of “Loki” — titled “The Nexus Event” — we see Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) both captured by the Time Variance Authority. During their capture, the two try to convince Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) that the TVA is lying to them about their history.
This all culminates with Judge Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) taking charge of the TVA. She legit kills Mobius — making him evaporate like the TVA does to hostile variants — and then takes Loki and Sylvie to meet the Time Keepers.
A battle ensues as Loki and Sylvie team up to fight TVA agents and Renslayer. Sylvie takes over Renslayer and Loki defeats the TVA. The two Loki variants then attack the Time Keepers — who are revealed to be mindless androids.
And then, just as we thought answers were coming, Renslayer legit kills Loki. Yeah. That happened.
What is the post-credits scene?
If you waited through the end credits, you will find a post-credits scene waiting for you. It shows Loki waking up under gray skies. He asks, “Is this Hel? Am I dead?”
- But then we hear a voice speaking to Loki, saying, “Not yet ... But you will be, unless you come with us.”
- We then see a number of Loki-like characters looking at Loki. Per Digital Spy, these characters are Kid Loki, Old Man Loki, a Loki with a hammer and a crocodile Loki.
What does the post-credits scene mean?
According to Digital Spy, this might be where vaporized variants go after they’re killed in the TVA. So maybe they don’t evaporate into nothingness? Maybe there’s more to the story.
- “If we’re to follow this logic, it means that there’s a strong chance that Mobius (who was himself also pruned after learning the truth about the TVA and deciding to team with Loki) and any other recently captured Loki variants would be there too,” according to Digital Spy.
- Or, the location could be “a hideout for Loki variants,” per Digital Spy.
A “tsunami” of buyouts among State Police leaving the force amid an onslaught of criticism has union officials sounding the alarm as an overtime scandal and dishonorable discharges also hound the agency.
State Police spokesman David Procopio confirmed Monday the number of retirements among the ranks “has increased,” but could not provide exact numbers to the Herald.
A review of state payroll data revealed state troopers are increasingly clamoring for their golden parachutes into retirement with buyouts for unused sick and vacation time. State Police have shelled out more than $5 million so far this year, topping the list of payouts by state departments despite having the fifth-largest budget.
More than $17.9 million has been paid out since 2017 to 727 officers with the number of officers receiving buyouts spiking from 65 to 209 last year with no signs of slowing this year, payroll records show.
“There are a few reasons for this enormous tsunami of buyouts are going to State Police, but the numbers are skyrocketing each year and I think the taxpayers have a legit beef with this,” said Greg Sullivan, research director at Pioneer Institute.
This year’s largest buyout so far — for $141,900– went to Maj. Thomas Majenski, who earned a total $159,072 by his last paycheck on Jan. 30.
Payroll records reveal the list of troopers receiving buyouts within the last year includes at least four troopers who were dishonorably discharged, as reported last week by the Boston Herald:
- Nicholas Holden earned $2,037 from a buyout on top of $99,605 in salary, overtime and “other” pay.
- Andrew Patterson nabbed a $4,181 buyout over his base pay of $89,725.
- Nidu Andrade got a $2,869 buyout on top of $31,673.
- David Nicastro earned a $4,975 buyout on top of $63,104 in additional pay.
Sullivan, a former state inspector general, speculated troopers’ “rush to the exits” in the scandal-laden department is one mechanism fueling buyouts. Payouts of unused sick and vacation time are obligated by union bargaining agreements.
State Police Association of Massachusetts President Mike Cherven, on the other hand, called the bump in buyouts a symptom of “ongoing anti-police sentiment, the consistent understaffing and pay parity issues.”
“This is an issue we have warned about for years. Morale across policing is at an all-time low, recruitment is down and we are facing critical staffing issues that are dangerous for both the public and our troopers,” Cherven said.
Boston, too, has seen retirements on the rise with 130 leaving already this year — a 50% jump over the same period last year. Boston Police Patrolman’s Association President Larry Calderone attributes it to a “lack of respect out on the street for men and women wearing the uniform.”
Sophia Hall of Lawyers for Civil Rights — who helped shape a landmark police reform law amid mass protests over the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police, that will later this year install the first-ever certification system for police officers in Massachusetts — said it’s “a little absurd” to think the yet-to-be-implemented law is fueling a significant rise in retirements.
A dip in recruitment numbers isn’t as drastic as some predicted. This year,10,345 took the biennial civil service exam — down from 13,866 in 2017, according to the state civil service commission.
In Worcester, where police Diversity Officer Sgt. Derrick Leto and his team have “actively recruited” for new officers, the number of new recruits is about the same as two years ago with a 4% boost in candidates of color.
“There’s a lot of people in the country and in Worcester that want be a part of the change and want to do this job,” Leto said. “The numbers reveal people still want to do this job.”
SOPHIA.org is website which offers free educational tutorials, free certification programs for teachers, as well as low-cost online college credit courses.
SOPHIA.org was founded by Don Smithmier, It launched in public beta in March 2011. By 2013 the site was being used by more than 70,000 students and teachers around the world.
SOPHIA.org has more than 34,000 free, short-form tutorials developed by over 6,000 teachers including 50 developed by Bill Nye The Science Guy and tutorials developed by physicians at the Mayo Clinic. The tutorials are available in a variety of multimedia formats including screencasts, videos, slideshows and podcasts.
In September 2012, SOPHIA introduced nine college-level online courses known as SOPHIA Pathways for College Credit (SPCC). Students complete courses on their own time and at their own pace. The courses have been recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service and have been approved by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) for Approved Quality Curriculum (AQC) status.
SOPHIA provides free tools and resources for teachers to create and share lessons, develop private classroom groups for student discussion, and monitor analytics and progress.
SOPHIA also provides free professional development resources created in cooperation with Capella University’s School of Education faculty.New Classrooms uses SOPHIA-created math content in its adaptive learning model
Sophia.org also conducts surveys on educational topics and hold contests.
- ^Chris Mason (3 April 2014). Tutor in a Box: The Guide to the Best Free Education Resources on the Internet. Chris Mason. pp. 84–. ISBN .
- ^MPR News - "Social media's role in education", Jan 31, 2011
- ^WCCO-TV 3/22/11 - "Mpls. Company Starts Sophia, A New Educational Website"
- ^McKay, Elspeth (31 March 2013). ePedagogy in Online Learning: New Developments in Web Mediated Human Computer Interaction: New Developments in Web Mediated Human Computer Interaction. IGI Global. pp. 25–. ISBN .
- ^Huffington Post 9/27/12 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-nye/capella-bill-nye-teachers-challenge_b_1914291.html?comm_ref=&comm_crv=
- ^T.H.E. Journal 10/1/2012 - "Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' Talks Flipped Classrooms". by Kanoe Namahoe
- ^"Rating tutorials at Sophia.org". Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, Apr 20, 2012. Katharine Grayson
- ^Amy Hutchison; Jamie Colwell (18 June 2015). Bridging Technology and Literacy: Developing Digital Reading and Writing Practices in Grades K-6. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 167–. ISBN .
- ^Gupteswar Rao. B. Empowering tools for today's educators: "Explore & Experience 21st Century Teaching Skills". Notion Press. pp. 161–. ISBN .
- ^Chronicle of Higher Education 2/4/11 - http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/social-teaching-company-gets-buy-in-from-capella-education/29466
- ^Mary T. Kolesinski; Evelyn Nelson-Weaver; Daryl Diamond (11 September 2013). Digital Solidarity in Education: Promoting Equity, Diversity, and Academic Excellence Through Innovative Instructional Programs. Routledge. pp. 70–. ISBN .
- ^"Students do homework in class, lessons at night in flipped classroom". CW2 television, February 5, 2014, by Kim Posey
- ^"School senior featured in video". Bronx Times, March 11 2014, By Jaime Williams
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