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11 Failed Community Startups & the Reasons Behind

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On Deck is where top talent comes to accelerate their ideas and build companies, surrounded by a world-class community.

There are a lot of things to consider when building a new startup - where to get funding, how to validate your idea, and what features should the product have.

One of the challenges is finding a market that is willing to pay for your solution without even knowing what it is yet.

However, 90% of startups will fail and shut down.

In this article, you can find 11 failed Community startups as well as analyses on why they closed down.


11 Failed Community Startups

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EventVue

EventVue

EventVue helped to improve the conference networking experience. They lacked product-market fit and failed to test early the usefulness of the product.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Josh Fraser, Rob Johnson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Finances

  • Started in:

    2007

  • Closed in:

    2010

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of PMF

You can read more about their failure here.

Formspring

Formspring

Formspring was an anonymous Q&A forum that grew to 1 million users in 2 months. This brought lots of cyberbullying on the site. They shut down after 4 years.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ade Olonoh, John Wechsler

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

MySpace

MySpace

MySpace became the most popular social networking site before Facebook. After competing with them, they decided to repurpose it as a platform for artists.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Aber Whitcomb, Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, Josh Berman, Michael Addicott, Tom Anderson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2003

  • Closed in:

    Active

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

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.

Community Coders

Community Coders

While in university, Kaito started Community Coders, a business that connected companies looking for web development and digital marketing services with high school students. However, as the months went over, it became difficult to close deals and the startup began to lose its course until they shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Kaito Cunningham

  • Country:

    Canada

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Management

You can read more about their failure here.

Kaya.gs

Kaya.gs

In 2011, Gabriel decided to build a Go Server that would launch new features every few weeks. He and his co-founder built and launched it in 2 months and in the following months, they raised $20,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. 1 year into running and they were shut down: product, engineering, and morale were the problems to blame.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Gabriel Benmergui

  • Country:

    Argentina

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2012

  • Funding Amount:

    < $100K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Poor Product

You can read more about their failure here.

NewCo

NewCo

If you are interested in the no-code movement, you’ve probably heard Ben Tossell’s name. But today we’re not here to talk about Makerpad, one of the leading communities for no-coders, but about Ben’s previous project: NewCo. We want to know what went wrong, what were the lessons learned, and how it led to his success afterward.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Ben Tossell

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Onepagetrip

Onepagetrip

Onepagetrip was a travel itinerary sharing community. Not having a plan to make money from the beginning was a stupid rookie mistake.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Ana Santos

  • Country:

    Australia

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Phez

Phez

Shanti is a 38-year-old software developer and entrepreneur who, using Ruby on Rails, built Phez, a Reddit clone that rewarded users with Bitcoin. After a few months, however, Phez failed due to its poor business model. If Shanti would have sold the BTC he used as rewards at BTC peak, he would have made $29,014!

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Shanti Braford

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

QuickHaggle

QuickHaggle

QuickHaggle was a community in which online users could exchange their skills. However, just like in old age, with the barter system, it became really difficult to find people who were looking for your service, and in exchange, could carry out what you needed. After some months, Bilal decided to shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Bilal Ahmad

  • Country:

    Pakistan

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2011

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Young Entrepreneurs' Program

Young Entrepreneurs' Program

Fabian founded Young Entrepreneurs Program, a one-year educational program for entrepreneurs aged 17 to 23. After 2 years and 150,000€ spent, they had 30,000€ in ARR and had to shut down due to no product-market fit.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Fabian Tausch

  • Country:

    Germany

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Market Fit

You can read more about their failure here.

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