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Lessons from Failed Startups

by @niral89, @mmazco & milc.co

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DateStartupIdeaReason for FailureFull StoryFounder
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September 2017ReadByHumansConverted articles, in to human-read audio on demand.Economics of the business did not work.How I in-validated a business idea in 3 months with little code, while traveling the world @ksaitor
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July 2017Yik YakYik Yak is a location-based social network that helps you connect with the people around you.struggled to keep users on its platformThe Yik Yak App is Officially Dead
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May 2017SprigSprig is an online app provides healthy organic meals delivered in 15 minutes.the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge.7 startups that were massively funded that died in 2017
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March 2016QuanttusNot the founder. Looks like blood pressure on the wrist.Product failureHealth-Tracking Startup Fails to Deliver on Its Ambitions@Shahid_Azim
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February 2017Echelon Exchangealgorithmic online stock exchange Lack of passion, no SWOT analysis, regulatory concerns, overly complex, revolutionary doesn't equal valuewhy my startup failed
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January 2017RethinkDBNoSQL databasePicked a terrible market and optimized the product for the wrong metrics of goodness.RethinkDB: why we failed@spakhm
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November 2016GiggerOnline gig booking system for bands, promoters, and venues.Market resistance and not enough customer developmentPost Mortem: Gigger Rocked@antman261
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October 2016SpinviteEvent invitation and sharingSpent entire seed fund on fancy development of untested product.Spinvite - The Party's Over@ohmygodrey
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September 2016FuhuChildrens tablets and apps.Slim profit margins that couldn't cover overhead. The Swift Rise--and Fall--of America's One-Time Fastest-Growing Company
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August 2016GamersTube.comFirst HD cross-compatible video host just for gamers. lack of investment, heavily competitive environmentThe story of a live game streaming network that ran from 2006 but closed in 2013, a year before Twitch, which started in 2011, sold to Amazon for $970 million. "Pioneers get slaughtered and the settlers proper"@youngbloodjoe
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August 2016ShipbeatA single platform for e-commerce logistics.We failed in building a logistics setup that we could power up with softwareShipbeat Post-Mortem@svenningsen
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June 2016Brisk.ioRecommend actions to salespeople from their data (CRM, email, etc)Lack of focus and couldn't eTurning the page: What we learned at Brisk@hajak
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June 2016sociavstre.amAggregate Instagram content by both location and hashtagReliance on third party APIWhy we killed our latest startup@bamcreative
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May 2016cookistoCookisto is an online community marketplace for homemade food.retention rate wasn’t good enoughSix up-and-coming start-ups on what makes for a successful business
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May 2016VymReview GitHub Pull Requests with a slide show without leaving GitHubIt failed to find market fit after launchWhat I Learned From an Unsuccessful Launch: Vymmikeswcho
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March 2016SpoonRocketon-demand food deliveryLack of sustainable profit marginWhat Founders Can Learn From SpoonRocket’s Demise
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February 2016Eulergyconnect university research with businessesIt was extremely difficult to market to students, PHD and Post-doc researchersEulergy closes it's digital doors@benbyford
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January 2016SharingearA p2p marketplatform for music instruments and backline rentalMarket too small, ran out of cash The entrepreneurial roller coaster ride@MirceaGEftemie
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Nov 2015HouseThisIndia's first NRI-focused Real Estate portalLost focus on the productLessons I learnt from failing at my first startup
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Oct 2015HomejoyHome cleaning service.High cost of customer acquisitionHomejoy at the Unicorn Glue Factory@nolimits
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Oct 2015EverythingMeAdds Contextual capabilities to mobile phonesNo business modelPopular Israeli app launcher EverythingMe closes down, most of staff let go
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Aug 2015ZirtualUnlimited virtual assistant tasks for a monthly priceBurn rateZirtual: What Happened and What’s Next@marenkate
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Aug 2015PoliMobileMobile marketing for political campaignsAhead of it's timeTiming is everything--especially in startups.@curtprins
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Aug 2015Last Guide Co.Apps that encouraged real world interactionsFailure to adhere to the original visionGowalla founder Josh Williams shutters Last, a company that made apps to help you go outside@jw
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Jun 2015alikoloe-Commerce MarketplaceInternal problem & wrong positioning in marketThis guy’s story of failing in Indonesia is refreshingly honest. Now he’s getting up and trying again@dannytaniwan
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Jun 2015Circa Newsmobile news appLack of funding, no buyersFarewell to Circa News@mg
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Jun 2015Tale of TalesCreate narrative based video games.Costs were higher than incomeAnd the sun sets...
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Jun 2015Paid for StripeMost popular 3rd party app for Stripe for 2 yearsStripe built their own app.End of Life of an App@ryanscherf
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Jun 2015LumosMachine learning enabled smart electrical switchesOverestimated machine learning & underestimated efforts in converting a prototype to fully functional hardware product5 Reasons Why My IoT Startup Failed@yashpkotak
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Jun 2015Rate My SpeechImprove people's public speaking skillsLack of problem-solution fit, no real team, too much ego.Let it go, let it go… Sunset of my first startup: ratemyspeech.co@aszig
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Jun 2015RewardMeLoyalty platform for restaurants and retailersPremature scaling and founder misalignmentPremature scaling killed us@junloayza
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Jun 2015UDesignCreate & buy beautifully patterned women's clothing from your phone.We didn't stick to our original vision, and let spending get out of control.We went from fashion-tech prodigies to flaming heap of Jichael Meffries-inspired detritus in 1 short, emotional year.@econstreams
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Jun 2015FastrWhatsapp for Customer ServiceWrong approach, wrong target marketFastr - Pitch@gregdsouza
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Jun 2015GuGoA group-centric social intelligence platformCofounder disagreements, couldn't secure fundingHow to Learn From Your Mistakes in a Tech Startup in Order to Succeed@shermanbiz
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May 2015Wattageeasily create customized hardware in your browserrun out of cashWell, We Failed@jeremybell
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STARTUP SALE: Get A 30 Second, High-Converting Explainer Video For Just $197
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May 2015AllmyappsFirst appstore for Windows PCnot enough time spent on vision in the early days, too early marketing spending, too many early hires, and a lot more...Allmyapps — Story of an Almost Successful French Startup@thibauld
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May 2015BitShuva RadioPandora for niche music genres and indie bandsit should have been a platformMy startup's dead! 5 things I learned@judahgabriel
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Apr 2015RememberLiving scrapbook for your family's memories.No marketWhy My Startup Failed And What I Learned From It@iadriantan
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Apr 2015SellanAppCrowdsourced mobile app publishing3 seed rounds without improving business model.What I’ve learned, 6 months after bankruptcy@Milann
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Apr 2015KOLOSThe first iPad racing wheelNot something people wantedKolossal failure: 10 lessons I learned from burning through $50,000 on a hardware project that bombed@k_ivaylo
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Apr 2015BluebirdSquarespace w/open source software & templateslack of financial & operational controls / inexperienced managementThe Art of Embracing Epic Failure@joshsimmons
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Apr 2015Secretshare personal secrets anonymouslydoes not represent the vision when starting the companySunset@davidbyttow
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Mar 2015BawteOne place. Everything you own. Forever.Customers were not adopting software = no incomeSaying Goodbye@bawte
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Mar 2015Patterbuzzunbundle content & let users purchase single articles by enabling micro-paymentssuccess with concept but could not secure fundingPatterbuzz - Down but not out ...@amitgoel1287
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Mar 2015KinikuRead your body's muscle electrical signals, and control things with itco-founders tried to do more than one startup at onceControl things with your muscles@dnghiem
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February 2015QhojoAirBnB for camera and video gear.Risk reward ratio too high for lenders.Startup mistakes@manishsinhaha
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Feb 2015StereomoodMood based music curation & recommendationUnsustainable business model for music licensing feesThe last song for Stereomood’s founders @danimelquiades
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Feb 2015ComboCatsplatform for turn-based multiplayer gamesconsequences of Russia-Ukraine conflictPostmortem: Traps for Friends - our attempt at fair IAP multiplayer@ivmirx
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Feb 2015College Inside ViewProvide more detailed student reviews of collegesI couldn't get enough reviewsCase study of a failed startup@adamzerner
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Feb 2015DeviceFidelityContactless payments / NFC for iphoneApple built NFC into new product linewww.nfcworld.com/tag/devicefidelity/@amit_df
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Jan 2015KinlyCreate a private social network for families.We didn't solve for distribution.The idea is dead. Long live the idea.@donsmithmier
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Jan 2015Cusoycurated restaurant finder for people with food allergies No clear or predictable way to sustainabilityCusoy: A postmortem@melissatsang
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Jan 2015StartheadCrowdfunding service for the whole world from Czech RepublicWe were naive idiotsThe idea of giving up is worse than of it killing me: How $150,000 post-it came to be?@michalsobel
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Jan 2015PolianaVisualize political influenceDon't do politics unless you're ok to be non-profitThe life and death of a political startup@cereallarceny
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Dec 2014Zagreb CohousingColiving space in Zagreb, CroatiaWrong place, wrong targetZagreb Cohousing FAIL
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Nov 2014Springpaddigital notebooksnot able to scale to become a self-sustaining businessSpringpad says goodbye@jacq_hampton
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Oct 2014Keep Fit Stay SaneAn Online Emotional GymCouldn't find a marketStartup postmortem: Keep Fit Stay Sane@gentlemantech
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Oct 2014ShwrümOpenTable for Apparel ShoppingToo early + ran out of cash22 Mistakes I Made As A First Time Founder@ViableBen
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Oct 2014Amiloomdevice forms network of people w/common friendscannot be clearly explained in 3 seconds3 Reasons Why My Tech Startup Failed@andershsi
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Oct 2014WishareitFind and buy gifts with/for friends. Early hires + Didn't validate Business Model5 Mistakes I Made Launching a Startup@joaoromaolx
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Sep 2014Emjoymenttinder for jobs99 reasons but a bit (code) ain’t one99 Problems But A Bit Ain’t One: Why My Startup Failed@asaven41690
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Aug 2014Dinnrsame day ingredient delivery servicesimply didn't have legsSeven lessons I learned from the failure of my first startup, Dinnr@michalbohanes
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Aug 2014LicensarioBilling system for SaaSBad marketingThe mistakes that killed my startup@gilsadis
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Aug 2014X-FacePut your face on characters.Didn't solve a problem we cared aboutWhat we have learned from our failed Startup@demirbyilmaz
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July 2014Fab.com (Hem Design)Flash sales of uniqly designed productsToo fast expansionThe Rise and Fall of Fab.com: A Cautionary Tale for Every Entrepreneur https://twitter.com/betashop
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Jul 2014Mopedmake messaging more web-friendlywe didn't build something that enough people wantedLaunching Sidestage After Failing At My First Startup@schuylerd
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Jun 2014Imercive360°, full motion, interactive videostuck with the wrong strategy for too longImercive Post Mortem@keithbnowak
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Jun 201499dressestrade fashion itemslack of product-market fit, and everything else in betweenMy startup failed, and this is what it feels like…@nikkidurkin99
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Jun 2014PopinPrivate, mobile, location based social networkIdiotic customer developmentThree years@christopherbull
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May 2014OpTierBusiness transaction management softwareComplex and buggy productFind farewel to OpTier@israelmazin
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May 2014Bloom.fmmusic streaming servicethe deal fell through at the last minuteClose,but no cigar@oleg_bloom
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May 2014Manillaonline platform to manage accounts and pay bills unable to achieve scale necessary for viable economicsManilla Is Shutting Down@schinella
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May 2014PumodoApp for football players to share stats & accoladesWe didn't obsess over it and we didn't love itA startup postmortem with a happy ending? ..in Thailand@tfridriksson
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May 2014HowDoPlace to discover, capture & share DIY & Craft guidesfailed to make the goal possiblethe last step@edwardjewson
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Apr 2014Argylesocial media tools for B2B marketerscouldn’t compete with marketing giantsArgyle is shutting down our service@Ericboggs
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Apr 2015orat.iodiscussion platform & plugina lot of reasonsAnother catchy headline why you should read this article about how my startup failed@3x14159265
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Apr 2014Stippletag people, places, and objects in an imagedid not scale fast enough"Stipple Shuts down"@Premiumfixer
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Apr 2014Samba Mobilead funded datahigh and increasing   unsustainable — data costsSamba Closing down@benartherton
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Apr 2014Zumboxdigitized transactional postal mailtime & cost to deliver was more than market was prepared to investZumbox to shutter its operations@yarone
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Mar 2014NeediumSocial media lead generation for small businessesToo early in market + extreme founder dilutionSeven Major Insights I Learned from my Failed Startup@sebprovencher
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Mar 2015Criticashare your opinions on any websitedid not have that traction. And so we ran out of moneyMy Startup Failed@jasonhuertas
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Mar 2015LayerVaultVersion control for designersFailed to generate enough revenueLayerVault is shutting down@kellysutton
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Mar 2014World Burrowmake unused meeting rooms available for freeit would not work due to security restrictionsWhy I’m Open Sourcing My Failed Startup@nfeiglin
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Mar 2014Mochi Mediaad network for developersanother casualty in the decline of FlashMochi Media Winding down services@etrepum
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Mar 2014Salorixsocial media managementthe deal did not go throughSalorix shuts operations@santanuB01
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Mar 2014Execon demand house cleaning servicedemand was very spiky, customer activation was hardWhat I learned from online to offline@ghazviian
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Mar 2014Readmillapp to read and share ebooksnot possible to sell books on Apple’s platform at competitive priceEpiloque@henrikberggren
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Feb 2014Blurttphoto sharing app for iPhoneI started to feel burned outShutting down Blurtt@jeanettec007
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Jan 2014Canvas/DrawQuestDrawing/remixing communityout of cashToday my startup failed: Story of Chris Pool — founder of 4chan and DrawQuest.@moot
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Jan 2014Delightvisualize how users interact with appsservice does not give intermediate values to your usersFailed to delight : Post -moterm of my first startup@thomaspun
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Jan 2014OutboxDigitizes physical mailwasn't enough demand to support the cost modelOutbox Shuts Down Its Mail Digitizing Service@Evanbaehr
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Dec 2013Exfmmusic discovery platformthe high costs of processing millions of new songs every monthChanging Tune@dankantor
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Dec 2013Bookishnew destination to connect readers with booksa shallow container for banner adsBookish is a failing startup that could fundamentally change digital publishing@lazyvalue
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Dec 2013Teamometertime tracking softwarefail to multiply big numbersstartup lessons learned from my first startup@stekliney
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Dec 2013WahoolyExchange startup equity for social advocacyRan out of money. Pivoted too soon. What Entreprenuerial Fear and Failure Look Like@danerobert
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Dec 2013Tigerbowsend physical gifts by email, facebook and twitterunable to execute on a strategy to drive early tractionTis the Season for a Tigerbow Post Mortem@itsdlevy
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Nov 2013Everpixthe smart photo platformfailed to effectively position giants like Apple and GoogleOut of the picture: why the world's best photo startup is going out of business@wwayne
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Nov 2013MyManualCustom instructions for home theater equipment by scanning barcodesInexperience with building productI fucked up@barnettlklane
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Oct 2013Admazelyretargeting platform for web shopsran out of fundingStartup Failure: How it feels@pschlegel
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Oct 2013Travelllllhottest travel news site on the planetthere was no real audienceTravelllll Post-Mortem@JohnONolan
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Oct 2013Shnergleapp that allows to view a place in real timeproduct wasn't getting the traction it neededShnergle Post Mortem@JonnyBull2
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Oct 2013UniSportonline hub for student sport"for a number of reasons"Someone else is building my failed start-up. @tomcarra
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September 2013HitMeUpLocation-based flash salesLack of definitionLessons learnt for Investors @ctapool
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Sep 2013Sonarhelp users discover relevant contacts close byeveryone stood a better chance starting anewPostmortem of a Venture-backed Startup: Lessons Learned from the rise and fall of @Sonar@brett1211
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Automatically convert new twitter followers into paying customers (without being annoying)
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Sep 2013Intellibankonline CRM solutionwe did not achieve product-market fit7 things I learned from startup failure@puiwah
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Sep 2013Fluda personalized mobile news platformNot giving enough time to stress and load testing Why Startups Fail: A Postmortem For Flud, The Social Newsreader@ghoshal
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Aug 2013Flowtabapp to order and pay for drinks at a bar or nightclubhard to market ourselves properly in bars without being thereThe decline and fall of Flowtab@Mikettownsend
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Jul 2013PollarizeSocial app that enables users to create an A/B questionIt was a free app that would've needed millions of users to get noticed, and selling it as a polling platform was never fully explored.Failed startup@wehtam
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Jun 2013Saaspirerelevancy platformget the other sources stable before you can focus on the productLessons from my failed startup@ninomarakovic
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May 2013ArkadInvestor relations softwareCustomer incentives were not aligned with buying the softwareLessons learned starting our first business@boxerbk
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May 2013ThrivelyRadically simple 360 feedback for your teamLack of funding, no tech cofounder, challenging marketShutting down my startup@nickfassler
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May 2013TotsyFlash sales for toddlers / young mothersCost per order > revenue per order + unsustainable marketing spendTotsy burns through $34 million, lays off its 83 employees, selling assets@ggauthereau
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Apr 2013On-Q-itynon-invasive diagnostic monitoring tools cancer patientsdidn't have enough capital around the tableOn-Q-ity, a Cancer Diagnostic Company: R.I.P@MaraAspina
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Apr 2013GroupSpacesa membership management platform for groupslack of product/market fit in the new marketsLooking back at 7 years with my startup GroupSpaces@andyy
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Apr 2013Zillionearscreative pre-sale platform for musicianspeople really didn’t really LIKE anything about our productMy Startup Failed. F@<#.@nemrow
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Mar 2013Formspringsocial platform to help people learn more about othersOur opaque follow-model shot us in the footFormspring- A postmortem@adeolonoh
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Feb 2013Vitotocreate collaborative videos on smartphonesWe were not playing to our strengthsVitoto Offically Shutting Down@morokuapps
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Feb 2013GowallaSocial guide to share & discover experiences and citiessomeone else found a path to the goal with less frictionPlay by your own rules.@jw
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Jan 2013NokterFoursquare for nightlifePeople hang out usually same places with friendsNokter - Foursquare for Nightlife@alvaradomarcos9
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Nov 2012Parceldstyle discovery platformtechnical co-founder quit & pulled the code out from under meLessons from my failed startup@brianne_garcia
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Aug 2012Little PrinterSend, receive & print messages/photos from anywhereNo sustainable business in connected productsThe design company behind the Little Printer is dead@genmon
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Jun 2012BellstrikeInstant websites for NonprofitsNot enough revenue per customerLessons learned from a self funded startup@doddcaldwell
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Jan 2012Plancastsocial event sharing siteusers don't develop a strong habit of contributing contentThe Uphill Battle Of Social Event Sharing: A Post-Mortem for Plancast@jaymon
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Nov 2011TalentArenaCommunity & marketplace for artists from different verticals.Aim for perfection in product prevented a proper sales job.How to fail a startup@maxrockt
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Aug 2011HelloParkingairbnb for parkingrarely had meaningful conversations with our target end-usersPart Two of the HelloParking postmortem: a look back, and a new perspective@chris_hoog
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Jul 2011MyFavoritesShow + Tell Your FavoritesI was blowing cash — at a ridiculous pace.The little startup that couldn’t (a postmortem of MyFavorites)@nb3004
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Oct 2010Standout Jobsrelationship focused recruiting portalfounding team couldn't build an MVP on its ownA Postmortem Analysis of Standout Jobs@austinhill
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Oct 2010Wesabepersonal finance management platformmost people use a shorter-term alternative if availableWhy Wesabe Lost to Mint@Marcprecipipe
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Sep 2010NewsTilta platform for the new model of journalismweren’t intrinsically motivated by news and journalismWhy we shut NewsTilt down@paulbiggar
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Aug 2010RiotVinesocial event guidenever generated the tractionPost-moterm@KabirH
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Jun 2010YouCastrmonetize online videowe weren't in love with the idea or marketYouCastr- a post mortem@Arieldiaz
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Jun 2010eCrowdsweb content management meets social networkingtoo much time building it for ourselves & not getting feedbackPost Mortem on a Failed Product@Davidklanac
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Nov 2010CertTimeDigital timestamping serviceWrong audienceCertTime@apankrat
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Apr 2010Devverturns desktop tools into cloud-based services. focused on engineering first & customers secondLessons Learned@davidcohen
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Mar 2010SMSnoodleSMS based entertainment channel for Singaporeoverestimated the Singapore market4 Mistakes Made And Lessons Learnt by Vijay of SMSnoodle@vijaykganesan
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Feb 2010EventVueOnline communities to connect conference attendeesdidn’t focus on learning & failing fast until it was too lateEventVue-Post mortem@joshfraser
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Aug 2009LookeryEnable social networks to distribute data as targeting infodependant on another platformCouldery shouldery@sawickipedia
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Jul 2009SampaPlatform for families & friends to share stories, photos, events and milestonesNot big enough pain at a time Facebook made sharing so easy (2008-ish)Anything and Everything About Sampa, From Business to Personal@calbucci
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Jul 2009TeeBeeDeesocial network for people over 40did not scaleTurning Out the Lights
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Apr 2009PlayCafean online game show networkwe didn't reach enough users10 lessons from a failed startup@devnag
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Jan 2009Overtoauction aggregation serviceno one of us was skilled in that areaLessons Learned: Startup Failure Part 1@pawelbrodzinski
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Dec 2008Difflesocial network based on simple 2D flash gamesit ended up going nowhere'Aftermath@jontang
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Jul 2008Monitor110data and information gathering servicenot close enough to the customerMonitor 110: A post mortem@infoarbitrage
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Jun 2008BricaBoxpersonal social contenttackled a technical problem, not a Market ProblemBricaBos: Goodbye World@kylebragger
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May 2008Meetroa multi-network social messengerpeople just weren't excited about the idea'Anatomy Of A Failure: Lessons Learned@Vlauria
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May 2008Kikoan online calendartoo slow at times, and focused on the wrong thing at timesLessons from Kiko, web 2.0 startup, about Its Failure@justinkan
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Apr 2008Nouncermicro-blogging servicelacked the audience my product needed to succeedThe Last AnNounce(r)ment@eranhammer
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Jul 2007Backfencecreate hyper-local community sitesinternal problems made it impossible to reach transition pointCo-Founder Potts Shares Lessons Learned from Backfence Bust@pottsmark
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Jan 2007BitpassOnline micropaymentscrappy business model, tried to do too much, lack of focusBitpass Croaks: Is This the End of Micropayments?@_nvs
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Jul 2006Cryptineinformation security servicesthe board couldn't break the deadlockkey lessons from Cryptine network's failure@nunderwood
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May 2000Boo.comHigh End Sportwear e-tailerHigh ambitions, poor executionBoo.com goes bust