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Workfu is shutting down. (workfu.com)
54 points by diwank 1095 days ago | 41 comments



Visiting their front page at http://workfu.com/ yields a lightboxed "UPDATE 31/08/2012: We are currently in discussions regarding the possibilities of keeping WorkFu alive and will update as soon as we have more information."

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Announce imminent closure of nascent service, submit to HN

Get more traffic than you ever had in 9 months previous combined

...

Profit

(colour me sceptic)

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Is nine months really enough time to make a determination whether a company is viable? It seems a little on the short side, and I recall reading in a number of places that you can only truly know how it's going a couple of years in. Is the issue here that resources/finances weren't adequately planned for?

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Determining if a company is currently viable is pretty easy maths in most cases.

But most likely you could have written it "whether a company could become viable soon"?

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>Determining if a company is currently viable is pretty easy maths in most cases.

That sounds very interesting, could you care to elaborate please ?

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Is that a real question?

In this case, income and its recurrence, expenses and their recurrence, current cash reserve and trends give you a pretty good picture to figure out if you can pay the 4 families behind workfu or not.

I'm not talking about complicated monster companies with heavy fiscal tactics, more about classic companies where you sell something.

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Oh, I see, I was thinking more about a startup project and expecting a thumb rule of viability à la lean startup. Of course income - expenses is easy :)

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Exactly :) It can be applied to B2B startup projects easily too.

Well - startups waiting to be acquired and/or do not charge the users is another story :)

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I'm somewhat in the same space with Folyo (http://folyo.me), and I know it's not an easy market.

But Workfu was one of the competitors I was most impressed with. They had a great team and great execution, so I hope they find a way to pull through somehow.

I guess this is the only time being a single founder is actually an advantage. Since I run Folyo by myself I have very few expenses, and can always feed myself by taking on client work if need be.

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> Since I run Folyo by myself I have very few expenses, and can always feed myself by taking on client work if need be.

I believe that's also true if you're a team. In my opinion even more, because you don't have one person being distracted by too many things, but can distribute tasks to various people, where each of them can focus on those that are related.

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One of their blog posts states "4 wives placated" ... your life situation tends to determine what risk and austerity you can afford so this particular team might find it harder than other teams would to also do side projects to pay the bills.

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Shared risk is often rougher than individual risk and leads to more conservative decisions (with exceptions of course, but shared sacrifice is a distinctly different beast.)

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Hey Sacha - how are things in Japan! Good to see you are doing well and that you are doing whatever it takes to keep Folyo up and running. What do you think of Scoutzie? launched by not too long ago with much fanfare along w the latest YC batch. Feel free to reach out to GroupTalent if you need project flow

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I'm very afraid of Scoutzie, that's what I think of them! They're a very close competitor with more resources and YC backing, and their execution is better than mine for a lot of things. But we'll see, as long as Folyo clients and designers are happy that's enough of a reason to keep on doing my thing :)

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FYI, my corporate firewall is blocking the folyo.me domain as a 'spam-url'

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Is there anything I can do about it?

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I read a quote recently that "most startups get interesting around 18 months". I think you guys are giving up too soon. Workfu has enormous potential. Either way, kudos for making it as far as you have.

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From the looks of it, this announcement dates back to August 8? https://twitter.com/workfu/status/233143828503224320 - and as mherdeg points out, their most recent update is to be found on the homepage.

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Took a look at the home page, did a double take when I saw the "FU Score". Maybe that resonates poorly with potential users? I get that we're supposed to use cutesy Web 2.0 names, but if what makes a hacker smile doesn't lead to revenue, it has no place.

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It's a beautiful site. I'm thinking someone is in the process of buying it.

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My thoughts exactly. It's really polished for something bootstrapped. Were there designers in the founders?

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Interesting, I saw one of the founders talk about the company a couple of weeks before this was announced and they were heavily promoting the company, felt like things were going well for them.

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You never know when you might come across a person or idea that might put you back on track. Telling people you're close to closing up shop completely closes off those opportunities.

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See the other front page story about startup founders and bullshitting.

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Sure but it wasn't a big startup event but a small event for teens looking to get into tech. He had little incentive to lie and put that much effort into personally conversations.

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Sometimes the truth hits suddenly.

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I guess I was a bit brief. The discussion of the "bullshitting" article ended up centering around the question of whether startup founders are deliberately lying/deceiving or just paint rosy pictures for themselves and live in those pictures.

Of course, the answer to that depends on the founder. I strongly suspect the latter would be the case here.

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I'm actually launching something in the same space on Labor Day (http://codewren.ch). This is not a particularly good omen ...

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Off topic, but I'm very curious... why did you decide to launch on Labor Day? Aside from the slight symbolic connection to your product, aren't you concerned that you'll have a much smaller audience due to the holiday?

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I literally conceived of this idea a month ago. My day job is in finance, so this break is the first contiguous block of time I could find to put it together. As far as audience is concerned, its true that the audience is smaller but that's good insofar as emergent problems can be addressed before people come back on Tuesday :)

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any other insights as to why they are shutting down? did they raise anything after being featured on the TC London Web Summit in March? how were they bootstrapping?

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Wonder if they will open source the code they built

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What were they missing? Distribution?

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They were missing two, directly related things: a revenue model and paying customers. (Not meant to be snarky or to point out the obvious, but simply factual.)

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Why not spend the afternoon figuring out a freemium vs. paid model, 15 minutes to setup Stripe, a few days setting up an LLC/Inc + Banking account all the while integrating?

Worst case you're out a few hundred bucks for the company formation, best case you start making money.

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Maybe they did the maths and it turns out even with many clients, the current costs are too high (just an hypothesis)?

Or it would take much more time than allowed, even with some outside funding?

For sure, I find the site is really, really beautiful and polished for a bootstrapped venture. It could maybe have helped to have something less polished but focusing on selling subscriptions earlier on? (no sarcasm really here, real question).

If one of the founders is reading, as a bootstrapper myself, I'd love to hear more about the underlying reasons to close.

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Why don't they just sell the company?

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Have you ever tried to sell a web app with no traction or revenue? Its not easy

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Can you elaborate on what your best courses of action are if you are in this spot and would like to sell?

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You could probably get a small chunk of change on Flippa.

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Network

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