Startup Cemetery

A big resource for entrepreneurs and startup owners, in which we have collected and analyzed why +100 big companies have failed. Learn from mistakes, and avoid being part of the 90% of businesses that fail.

Circa

Mobile news app on diverse topics

General Information
Category
Productivity
Country
United States
Started
In 2011
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2015
Cause of Failure
Multiple Reasons
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Three
Name of Founders
Arsenio Santos, Ben Huh, Matt Galligan
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
8
Total Funding Amount
$4.7M
Number of Investors
39
Description

Circa was a promising startup in the news sector that had the ambitious mission of ‘fixing’ what was wrong with journalism. More specifically, the product this San Francisco based company came up with was a news app that pushed notifications to the user’s phone and delivered digestible bit-sized news specifically for mobiles, at a time at which no news company had yet tried the model. The company offered ‘atomized’ news rather than a summary, which means they broke down the news to its core elements; stats, facts, media, and quotes. Links to different sources were also given so that users could read the full story. Users had also the option of following up on a story and receive updates for specific news.

Cause of Failure

Circa seems to have gone out of business because they suffered a financial breakdown. In an article titled “Farewell to Circa News” the company stated that producing high-quality news proved to be a costly endeavor and without the capital necessary to support further production they were unable to continue. The company found out that building a revenue stream would take time and only by having enough venture capital they would be able to sustain their operations.

Although their concept was new and innovative, it was quickly copied by giants in the news sector. Circa was unlikely to be able to compete with renowned prints staff nor with their advertising outreach.

Circa was deemed to fail exactly because of the model and strategy it had chosen. Since news were only digests of news they had no strong emotional pull. Users didn’t spend much time on Circa, even after they briefly opened the app, they would go back to the other social and engaging applications that could offer them not only near real-time news but also social interactions.

The company considered monetizing their site by introducing advertisements or charging a subscription for its product but they felt that these minor solutions wouldn’t have made a difference nor provide a high-quality experience to their users, so they decided against it.

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In 2004
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BitPass

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Between 51 And 100
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Shut Down