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Ask HN: What are the most epic startup fails you know?
18 points by alexxtomsk on Aug 24, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments
I'd like to compose an article with the most epic fails, kind of Darwin Startups Award :)



Color http://mashable.com/2012/10/17/color-shuts-down/ I never quite figured out what that app was supposed to be or how to use it.


Digg was the most dramatic I've seen. Digg v4 rollout managed to completely annihilate the user base within a few days and it ended up being sold for pennies a few months later.


Friendster.com ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendster ) , without any hesitation ( inventing Social networking, becoming #6 biggest site in the world, to nothing ). – Disclaimer: I worked there.



You are going to get all the usual suspects listed here. What would be more interesting to read is the companies that should have succeeded, but failed for some crazy reasons.

I will give you a personal anecdote of my company. We failed (not ending in bankruptcy thankfully) because 9/11 caused all our customers to freeze and not be able to make a decision. We end up in the situation where everyone said yes on an intellectual level, but they just couldn’t sign on an emotional level because they were too uncertain about the future. A year later they were over this, but it was too late.


That makes sense, but your story doesn't deserve to be listed in Darwin Startups Award. It's a sad one actually...

I'm looking for some stupid things that were made by the management team that caused startup to die.


Considering we are not dead and have gone on to far great things I hope we don’t end listed on any Darwin Startups Award list - that is for the future :)

More seriously the real failures I have personally seen have never had a single cause. All the ones I know of are a combination of a lack of resources (money can buy you out of a lot of mistakes) and inexperience.



For those interested in more details, I recommend the book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boo-Hoo-Dot-Com-Story/dp/0099418371 . One of my favourite parts includes an investment banker plotting the IPO aboard a private jet only to learn that the company does not exist as a legal entity yet.


The company that signaled the start of the Dot.Com collapse in Sweden. The Jante law glee when one of the founder, in later years, was found to have been reduced to owning a hot dog stand was off the charts :)



+1. For all the hype that Cuil (pronounced 'Cool') created, it was a spectacular failure :-(



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Place I still regret Better Place went down the spiral. Shai Agassi, the CEO, was a spectacular salesmen...


CueCat: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CueCat

The idea was to give away cat-shaped barcode scanners to make it easier to scan URL's. $185M down the drain.



Uber


already or is that a prediction? =)


What about Color and Its $41 Million? Very funny story.


Theranos


Sirin Mobile.

16,000$ for a fat-ass phone


Theranos and Color


Springpad


Color


theranos

aereo


pets.com




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