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Design Failures

5 Failed Design Startups & their Case Studies

Startups are hard and becoming a successful one is even harder, so here is a list of 5 failed design startups that you can learn from.

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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 5 failed Design startups as well as analyses on why they closed down.


5 Failed Design Startups

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Berg

Berg

Berg was a cloud platform on which Little Printer, an IoT device, worked. They had loyal supporters, but couldn't convert it into a sustainable business.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Matt Webb

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Design

  • Started in:

    2005

  • 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.

Design Inc.

Design Inc.

Design Inc. linked clients to talented designers. They reached market saturation and the startup could not make enough revenue to cover operation costs.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Bjoern Zinssmeister, Marc Hemeon

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Design

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

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.

LayerVault

LayerVault

LayerVault helped you store, track, review, and deliver design work. However, they were unable to secure additional capital to sustain their services.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Allan Grinshtein, Kelly Sutton

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Design

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

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.

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