Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

5 signs your startup is screwed

JR Raphael | Jan. 5, 2016
The founders of failed startups share lessons learned along the way -- and signs of impending doom they wish they'd spotted sooner.

A loss of original vision was also blamed for the collapse of ProtoExchange, an outsourcing marketplace for hardware engineering, as well as for the downfall of Digital Royalty, a social media strategy startup that underwent "sizable shifts" in the months leading up to its shutdown.

"Some of these shifts were in our control and some were not," its founder, Amy Jo, eulogized. "In order to honor our core values, which have been the epicenter of our culture, we have decided to hang up our crown."

Pour one out for our crownless homies.

Failure sign No. 3: You aren't ready for success

Some startups have stellar ideas but lack the resources or know-how to execute them. And -- you guessed it -- that dangerously spicy combination doesn't exactly create a foundation for long-term success.

Ask Martin Erlić, whose startup UDesign went from promising new concept to kaput old company in the span of a single year.

The idea sounds solid: UDesign was an app that'd make it simple to create your own pattern and use it on a custom piece of clothing. Neato, right? But instead of hiring experienced programmers, Erlić and his partners in crime decided to "wing it" and do the dirty work themselves.

"What ended up happening was that we spent everything we could have spent on polishing the product ... on marketing instead," he explains. "We thought we could trick people now and make up for it later. Wrong."

Flash without function -- an age-old tale. It's one Attila Szigeti, founder of startup flop ratemyspeech.co, also knows well.

"We only had a crude prototype but no amazing product, and we couldn’t attract [a] considerable number of users," he recalls.

Some startups don't even get that far. Jeremy Bell's former company, Wattage, was supposed to make it easy for anyone to come up with an idea for an electronic device -- dragging and dropping components like buttons, sensors, speakers, and displays into an online creation tool -- then have the gadget manufactured and delivered in a matter of days.

Yet again, it was a cool concept without the legs to hold it up.

"When I looked at the various prototypes we’d created, the quality simply wasn’t there yet," Bell admits. "We were heavily using laser cutting as our means of fabrication, and while it allowed us to produce something close to our vision, it wasn’t good enough. What we really needed was a hybrid of laser cutting and 3D printing, but unfortunately, 3D printing is still far too slow and expensive to be realistic."

As it turns out, not being realistic is a pretty big hurdle to overcome.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4  5  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.