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Competition Failures

39 Failed Startups with Fierce Competition

Here are 39 startups with fierce competition that have shut down in the last years, analyses on their failure, and interviews with their founders.

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Countless startups around the world are being launched every week.

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 39 startups that failed due to the fierce competition, along with analyses on why they shut down and interviews with their founders.


39 Failed Startups with Fierce Competition

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Argyle Social

Argyle Social

The Argyle Social was a social media marketing tool. The leading social media platforms change their APIs every time, which led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Adam Covati

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

BitPass

BitPass

Bitpass was a company that gave people a platform to make micropayments online. The main reason for its closure was competition, even after raising $12M.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Kurt Huang

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Finances

  • Started in:

    2002

  • Closed in:

    2007

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

ChaCha

ChaCha

ChaCha was a search engine where you interacted with a human being. However, the startup got stiff competition when Google released its Panda algorithm.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Brad Bostic & Scott Jones

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2005

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

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.

Digg

Digg

Digg had the mission of "democratizing" the content and news that people saw. However, it missed lots of opportunities to become a thriving social network.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Kevin Rose

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2004

  • Closed in:

    Active

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Fab

Fab

Fab was an e-commerce company focused on daily design inspiration. Its success resulted in companies launching their same exact replicas of Fab’s platform.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Bradford Shane Shellhammer, Deepa Shah, Jason Goldberg, Nishith Shah, Sunil Khedar

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    500-1,000

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

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.

HotelsAroundYou

HotelsAroundYou

HotelsAroundYou was an India service centered on last-minute and short stay bookings. They weren't capable of raising more money and had to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Animesh Chaudhary, Harsha Nallur, Mohsin Dingankar

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Kitchit

Kitchit

Kitchit brought local chefs to your home. They had to compete with other big food providers in the same market, which provoked their failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Brendan Marshall, Ian Ferguson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Kno

Kno

Kno introduced double paneled e-textbooks. Despite raising $80M, the company saw its chances of scaling up diminish once Apple introduced its iconic iPad.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Babur Habib, Osman Rashid

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    +10,000

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

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.

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.

QBotix

QBotix

QBotix offered solar panels that tracked solar light. Their competitors' efficiency improved, making QBotix's innovative solar panels less cost-effective.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Wasiq Bokhari

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Rafter

Rafter

Rafter was a course material provider for colleges. They had lots of competition and had to deal with logistical, financial, and market challenges.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Sara Leoni

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2006

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

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.

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.

Sprig

Sprig

Sprig delivered meals to customers who were looking for healthy choices. Sprig found the process time-consuming and expensive, and decided to shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Gagan Biyani, Matt Kent, Morgan Springer, Neeraj Berry

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Stayzilla

Stayzilla

Stayzilla was a successful homestay network that raised $33.5M in funding. Their operational costs were too high and they were losing money every year.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Rupal Yogendra, Sachit Singhi, Sachit Singhi, Yogendra Vasupal

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2005

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Stereomood

Stereomood

Stereomood was a music platform that provided mood-based song listings. The company was acquired but they weren’t able to make a profit.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Daniele Novaga, Eleonora Viviani, Giovanni Ferron, Maurizio Pratici

  • Country:

    Italy

  • Industry:

    Music

  • Started in:

    2009

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Acquisition Flu

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.

Verelo

Verelo

Verelo was a Canadian startup that offered web monitoring services from multiple locations. Not enough traction made the company shut down in 2012.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    McGrath, Michael Curry

  • Country:

    Canada

  • Industry:

    Analytics

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2012

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Vine

Vine

What happened to Vine?! Why did it shut down? When? Does TikTok face the same risk? Here's our detailed analysis.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Colin Kroll, Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Wantful

Wantful

Wantful was an e-Commerce founded in 2011. After experiencing exponential growth, it shut down in 2013 due to stiff competition from other companies.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    John Poisson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    +10,000

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Wesabe

Wesabe

Wesabe is a former Personal Finance Management system that helped clients make better financial decisions. Having better competitors made Wesabe fail.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jason Knight, Marc Hedlund

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Finances

  • Started in:

    2005

  • Closed in:

    2010

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Management

You can read more about their failure here.

Gameslog

Gameslog

Gameslog was a gaming site monetized with affiliate marketing. But the site never took off, as the market was already saturated.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Michael Hebenstreit

  • Country:

    Germany

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Graphite Docs

Graphite Docs

Justin Hunter had the courage to challenge Google Docs, all because he was scared of losing all his writing saved in the cloud. So he created Graphite Docs, a privacy-focused alternative to Google Docs powered by blockchain, that assured users that their saved files were indeed safe. And the effort paid off; he started gaining traction from individual users. However, he decided to focus on the B2B model, rather than B2C, and this decision cost him the business. Why? Read on to find it out.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Justin Hunter

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2017

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $100K-$500K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

KnowNet

KnowNet

KnowNet was a tutoring platform. A SWOT analysis saved Rik and Ari from lifting their name into the failure hall of fame.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Rik Ganguly

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Lockpick Entertainment

Lockpick Entertainment

Lockpick Entertainment was a small game studio, that created Dreamlords, a famous MMORTS game. They did it well, making thousands per month. But they began to increase the scope, and after 6 years, they went out of business due to bankruptcy.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Jesper Bylund

  • Country:

    Sweden

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2006

  • Closed in:

    2012

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

Muun

Muun

Eelco built Muun in his own, a SaaS that allowed co-working spaces owners to run their businesses effectively. He validated the idea and after weeks, he launched it. However, once in the market, Muun had to compete with really big competitors which had much more features and a better pricing. So, Eelco decided to shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Eelco

  • Country:

    Netherlands

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2017

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Marketing

You can read more about their failure here.

NOX

NOX

Jeremiah is an ex-entrepreneur who co-founded NOX, a nightlife app that allowed users to book events, services, and VIPs. The 5-person-team raised $90,000 from several angel investors but had to pivot into an e-commerce platform for alcoholic beverages, which was eventually making $20,000/month. However, the lack of both financial discipline and ideas to scale led to its failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Jeremiah Lam

  • Country:

    Singapore

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    < $100K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

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.

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.

Teacher Finder

Teacher Finder

Andrew Davison is one of the automation kings. He is a Zapier Certified Expert and an Integromat Partner running Luhhu, a business automation agency. Before that, he built Teacher Finder, a marketplace for language teachers. It didn’t take off, but using Zapier each day helped him start his agency.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Andrew Davison

  • Country:

    Hungary

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

The Punjab Kitchen

The Punjab Kitchen

Amit is a hard-core sales professional, who decided to set up a home-made food business with his wife. They started investing $1,200/month to set up the startup and get the first customers. However, once running they had to confront a big problem: the prices of their competitors were much lower. After some pivots, they decided to shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Amit Gogia

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Food & Beverage

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Competition

You can read more about their failure here.

WURA

WURA

WURA was an on-demand video platform for African and Nollywood movies. Mike hired a few developers to build it and spent $35,000 on Facebook marketing. The business grew fast and he was making $3,861 per month. However, YouTube competition and cash flow killed the startup.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Michael Ojo

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

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