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App Failures

43 Failed App Startups & Analyses on Why they Failed

Startups are hard and becoming a successful one is even harder, so here is a list of 43 failed app startups that you can learn from.

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Countless startups are being launched every day.

Many fail because they did not learn from the success of other companies who've managed to rise above.

We just published this list of 43 app startups with analyses on why they shut down, and interviews with their founders.


43 Failed App Startups

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99dresses

99dresses

99dresses was a fashion app that offered trades of second-hand designer dresses between users. It operated for a year but had to shut it down in 2014.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Nikki Durkin

  • Country:

    Australia

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Circa

Circa

Circa had the mission of ‘fixing’ what was wrong with journalism. They suffered a financial breakdown and were copied by giants in the news sector.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Arsenio Santos, Ben Huh, Matt Galligan

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Dazo

Dazo

Dazo was a food-tech startup based in Bangalore which emerged as a “food on demand” company. Fierce competition and lack of funding led to Dazo's failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Monica Rastogi, Shashaank Shekhar Singhal

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Desti

Desti

Desti was a traveling and mapping iPad app that used AI to help planning a trip. Although users found it useful, they ended up booking on other platforms.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Imri Goldberg, Mosi Shuchman, Nadav Gur

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Flowtab

Flowtab

Flowtab was an app that solved the problem of long queues in bars. They tried several business models but never found a profitable one, so they shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Mike Townsend

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Flud

Flud

Flud was a social news reader platform. They were unable to raise additional funding for their operations and eventually ran out of cash.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Bobby Ghoshal, Matthew Ausonio

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Gowalla

Gowalla

Gowalla was a location-based social platform that allowed users to share their location. It tried to do many things at once, and shut down after 5 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Josh Williams, Scott Raymond

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2007

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Grooveshark

Grooveshark

Grooveshark was a streaming music platform. Its major weakness was that it illegally streamed music. They were sued multiples times and had to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Andres Barreto, Josh Greenberg, Sam Tarantino

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Music

  • Started in:

    2006

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

HitMeUp

HitMeUp

HitMeUp was a web-based business commercial center. The founder had no tech background, and after launching 3 versions, they decided to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Charlie Pool

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

You can read more about their failure here.

Karhoo

Karhoo

Karhoo was a cab aggregator. It was out of business after 6 months of operation. Poor management and bad execution of a good concept were the main causes.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Daniel Ishag

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Poor Product

You can read more about their failure here.

Moped

Moped

Moped was a free social app. It had not enough entertaining and fast-growing content that could attract a broad mass of users. It closed after 16 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Schuyler Deerman

  • Country:

    Germany

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    1998

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

Munchery

Munchery

Munchery allowed users to order gourmet food. However, they couldn't deliver the experience that it promised and build a profitable business model.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Conrad Chu, Tri Tran, Van Tran

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Parse

Parse

Parse offered a platform for mobile app devs with tools to let them build, run and test applications. Facebook bought Parse and shut it down in 2017.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ilya Sukhar, James Yu, Kevin Lacker, Tikhon Bernstam

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Acquisition Flu

You can read more about their failure here.

PepperTap

PepperTap

PepperTap provided a platform to buy and deliver groceries from local markets. Customers found delivery fees too expensive for their needs, and shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Milind Sharma, Navneet Singh

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    1,000-5,000

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Poor Product

You can read more about their failure here.

Pixate

Pixate

Pixate wanted to make prototyping and designing apps more accessible and effortless. It was acquired by Google in 2015, and after a year, it was shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Kevin Lindsey, Paul Colton

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Design

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Acquisition Flu

You can read more about their failure here.

PoliMobile

PoliMobile

PoliMobile provided political campaigns with a strategic way to reach their supporters. No one wanted to pay for such a service and they had to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Curt Prins

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

Quibi

Quibi

An analysis on why did Quibi, a short-form video streaming platform, shut down despite raising $2 billion from investors and having an experienced team.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jeffrey Katzenberg

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Rdio

Rdio

Rdio was a music streaming service. Its weakness was the non-existent marketing and distribution strategy. Spotify ramped up and Rdio went out of business.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Carter Adamson, Janus Friis, Niklas Zennström

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Music

  • Started in:

    2008

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

RoomsTonite

RoomsTonite

RoomsTonite was a last-minute hotel booking app for people traveling to India. They raised $1.5M in funding but the money didn't arrive and they shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Suresh John

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Secret

Secret

Secret was an app that allowed users to post content anonymously. Active users rapidly declined after 18 months from its launch and cyberbullying emerged.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Chrys Bader-Wechseler, David Byttow

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

Selltag

Selltag

Selltag was a web-based buy & sell platform. The CEO realized their business model would not be sustainable in the long term and shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Javier Escribano, Ruben Colomer, Juan Luis Hortelano, Walter Kobylanski

  • Country:

    Spain

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Failure to Pivot

You can read more about their failure here.

Shyp

Shyp

Shyp imitated the Uber model with an on-demand shipping service. However, they were unable to figure out a profitable business model and had to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jack Smith, Joshua Scott, Kevin Gibbon

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Sidecar

Sidecar

Sidecar was a transportation company. They had top-notch technology but no marketing strategy, and could only become useful in high-density cities.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jahan Khanna, Sunil Paul

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

SpoonRocket

SpoonRocket

SpoonRocket was a food delivery service making healthy meals each day. When their financial situation declined, they failed to fundraise to stay afloat.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Anson Tsui, Steven Hsiao

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Springpad

Springpad

Springpad was designed to empower users to clip, organize, and interpret all types of web content. The company failed to develop a monetization strategy.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jason Horman

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2008

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise was a calendar app for mobile and desktop. They had good reviews from users, but calendars are hard to monetize and they have a low entry barrier.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jeremy Le Van, Pierre Valade

  • Country:

    France

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Take Eat Easy

Take Eat Easy

TakeEatEasy enabled restaurants to provide a reliable delivery service for their customers. Their margins were insufficient and closed doors after 3 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Adrien Roose, Chloé Roose, Jean-Christophe Libbrecht, Karim Slaoui

  • Country:

    Belgium

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Teforia

Teforia

Teforia was a tea brewer that yielded the perfect cup of tea by combining tradition with smart technology. It had an absence of market fit and shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Allen Han, Kris Efland

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

Tilt

Tilt

Tilt was a social payments startup. The CEO was believed to become the next Zuckerberg. However, lack of focus led to shutting down their operations.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    James Beshara, Karolyn Baxter, Khaled Hussein

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Finances

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak

What was Yik Yak? Why was it shut down? Are there any alternatives nowadays? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Brooks Buffington, Tyler Droll, Will Jamieson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

BusyMind

BusyMind

BusyMind was a simple app that guided people through basic breathing and observation exercises. Lack of time destroyed the startup.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Kevin Lamping

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Cuddli

Cuddli

Robert was the co-founder of Cuddli, a dating app for geeks. The startup was based in the US but they had their development team in Croatia. Media features grew the app to 100k users but a combination of a small market and their inability to monetize the app forced the startup to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Robert Walker

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Gawkbox

Gawkbox

GawkBox was a platform where viewers of live streams could play mobile games to donate real money to streamers. Chris co-founded this as his first startup and he was able to successfully raise $4.4M in venture funding, which the startup invested in marketing until they achieved 500k users and more than $1M in revenue. However, multiple mistakes and a series of reasons led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Christopher Brownridge

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Gulp

Gulp

Jeff Orr and two friends in college started Gulp- an app to pay bar cover. Gulp was meant to replace the inconvenience of having to go an ATM to pay for a bar’s cover fee, but with the lack of affiliate marketing knowledge and some bad unit economics, the friends quickly ran out of money.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Jeff Orr

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Habitual

Habitual

Holger Sindbaek is the founder of Habitual, a habit-tracking app that was initially created since Holger could not find an app that could suit his habit-tracking needs after reading Atomic Habits book. With other successful apps under his belt like a Solitaire card game played by 3M people per month, it seems like he has the knack of making startups fly. So what went wrong with Habitual? Discover it in this interview.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Holger Sindbaek

  • Country:

    Denmark

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2019

  • Closed in:

    2021

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Marketing

You can read more about their failure here.

InoVVorX

InoVVorX

InoVVorX was an app development company that both worked for clients and built their own projects. The business did it well for some time, having a team of 25 people, making $300k from their services, and raising $100k. However, their plans on working on their own products (too many of them) meant they started burning all the money and eventually had to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Maxim Dsouza

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $100K-$500K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Kopely

Kopely

After a decade of training and coaching, Andrew realized that stress was one of their clients’ main issues. That’s how he thought about creating a stress relief app. He partnered up with a dev company to build his idea while he took care of marketing. In few months, he got a great list of interested people, but COVID-19 changed things… the devs were no longer interested in building the app.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Andrew Laux

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2019

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Dependence on Others

You can read more about their failure here.

Lernin Games

Lernin Games

Jordi Miró has been building products and companies since 2007. After a successful CTO experience in Wuaki TV, he founded Lernin Games, an EdTech startup focused on toddlers. He raised €1.5M and built a team of 10, but Lernin ran out of cash and the project couldn’t succeed.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Jordi Miró

  • Country:

    Spain

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2017

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

openmargin

openmargin

Marc co-founded *openmargin, a social e-reader app that turned books into small communities. Being too early in the market, having huge competitors like Amazon, and not shipping fast enough were three of the reasons for the startup’s failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Marc Köhlbrugge

  • Country:

    Netherlands

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Funding Amount:

    $100K-$500K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Playdate

Playdate

Logan was the CEO and CTO of Playdate, an on-demand social networking app. In two years, the startup grew to a team of 7 at its peak and 5,000 monthly active users. However, a collection of causes made the startup uninvestable and they eventually run out of money.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Logan Rado

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Refolo

Refolo

Lola founded Refolo, a meal-planning app focused on plant-based eating. After spending 2 years selling a solution for a problem that people weren't already investing money in, she decided to shut it down looking for other opportunities.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Lola Ojabowale

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Market Fit

You can read more about their failure here.

Tandem App

Tandem App

Will is a software engineer based in San Francisco, who co-founded Tandem, an app to help people stay on top of their medications. They carried out some research and considered it was a great business idea. But, after launching, they discovered retention was really difficult and decided not to continue.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Will Sun

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

Zapstream

Zapstream

Zapstream was a social live streaming platform, which competed with Meerkat and Periscope. The startup raised $1m from angels and grew from 0 to 100k users. However, a combination of dwindling engagement, mismanagement of money, and the inability to fundraise further, led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Devan Sood

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

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