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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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RethinkDB

Scalable database for the real-time web

General Information
Category
Software and Hardware
Country
United States
Started
In 2009
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2016
Cause of Failure
Bad Market Fit
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Two
Name of Founders
Michael Glukhovsky, Slava Akhmechet
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
4
Total Funding Amount
$12.2M
Number of Investors
16
Description

RethinkDB was an open-source database, the first of its kind that makes use of a distributed and scalable NoSQL database. RethinkDB was built from its inception for real-time web applications. It provided solutions to make processes faster and more reliable such as using live push updates instead of the traditional and slower polling for data in queries.

Cause of Failure

RethinkDB founder highlighted in a postmortem some of the reasons for which he believed his company failed to thrive despite that fact that they had a good product.

Choosing the ‘wrong market’ was mentioned as one of their major mistakes. Since the beginning they were taken by their clients as being an open-source tool and pretty much no one wanted to pay for it. If a substantial price barrier would have been put, users would have probably searched for another tool in the ocean of free and open source tools that other developers make available. Another major blunder was that despite they focused on seemingly important metrics, these weren’t the metrics users and clients were primarily interested in. Their ‘metrics of goodness’ according to the startup were releasing a flawless product (and yet their successful competitors at MongoDB became very popular even though they had an initial buggy product), design a simple interface, and database consistency. On the other hand, customers wanted the products to be available as soon as possible (they had to wait almost 3 years for RethinkDB), speedy performance, and a good and tried way to store JSON documents and create reports.

Fortunately, enough, RethinkDB technology won’t fall into oblivion as it has been acquired a couple of months after its 2016 shutdown by the Linux Foundation (CNFC).

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