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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.

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Rafter

Textbook and course material provider for schools

General Information
Category
Education
Country
United States
Started
In 2006
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2016
Cause of Failure
Competition
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
One
Name of Founders
Sara Leoni
Number of Employees
Between 51 And 100
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
7
Total Funding Amount
$86M
Number of Investors
7
Description

Rafter was a textbook and course material provider for schools and colleges. The company, previously known as BookRenter, initially focused only on providing textbooks to educational institutions but decided to completely change strategy to gain an upper hand on its competitors. The company rebranded as Rafter and started providing cloud-based course material. Rafter worked with small to medium colleges in particular, which found the bulk deals they were able to get hold of with Rafter advantageous. In this way, colleges were able to lower the prices of campus store books thus encouraging students to buy course material from the university instead of off-campus sites. Rafter also allowed instructors to find, sample and manage course material and provided digital books, audio, and video media as well as codes to access various online courses platforms.

Cause of Failure

Rafter had much competition from the start and it had to deal with both logistical, financial and market challenges from the onset. For starters, it was hard to convince large institutions to buy from the company as a single-source network of providing texts and notes. Also, not all students were pleased with Rafter’s model as they thought they could get textbooks for more affordable prices on their own and they didn’t appreciate the fact that the company required them to return the books at the end of the term.

However, the most crucial challenge for the company was the evolution of technology and its widespread adoption and inclusion into universities. Colleges could now directly deal online with the publisher so the need to have a middle agent such as Rafter became minimal. Rafter announced its shut down in 2016. The digital assets of Rafter, including its Rafter360 solutions, were successively bought by eCampus in 2017.

Go on Reading

Rafter

Textbook and course material provider for schools

Education
Acquired
$86M
Competition
Education
United States
In 2006
By 2016
One
Between 51 And 100
More Than 50M
Competition
Acquired
Argyle Social

Provided social media management tools

Marketing
Shut Down
$1.6M
Competition
Marketing
United States
In 2010
By 2014
One
Between 11 And 50
Between 1M 10M
Competition
Shut Down
SpoonRocket

Next-gen, ultra-fast delivery platform

Food and Beverage
Shut Down
$13.5M
Competition
Food and Beverage
United States
In 2013
By 2016
Two
Between 11 And 50
Between 10M 50M
Competition
Shut Down
Digg

Enables users to share interesting stories

Social Media
Still Active
$49M
Competition
Social Media
United States
In 2004
Active
One
Between 51 And 100
Between 10M 50M
Competition
Still Active
HitMeUp

Developed mobile marketing applications

e-Commerce
Shut Down
£50K
Lack of Experience
e-Commerce
United Kingdom
In 2011
By 2015
One
Between 1 And 10
Less Than 1M
Lack of Experience
Shut Down
Secret

Online platform to share personal secrets

Social Media
Shut Down
$35M
Legal Challenges
Social Media
United States
In 2013
By 2015
Two
Between 11 And 50
Between 10M 50M
Legal Challenges
Shut Down
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120 hours of digital marketing from a remote apprentice for only $299 (+ $50 off!).

This could be your AD. Sponsor Startup Cemetery to reach +10,000 entrepreneurs.

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