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Education Failures

16 Failed Education Startups & Analyses on Why they Failed

Here are 16 education startups that have shut down in the last years, analyses on their failure, and interviews with their founders.

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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 16 failed Education startups as well as analyses on why they closed down.


16 Failed Education Startups

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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.

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.

SchoolGennie

SchoolGennie

SchoolGennie provided solutions that saved time, reduced costs, and helped make better decisions on schools. But they didn’t test their product-market fit.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Amit Gupta, Pardeep Goyal

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

You can read more about their failure here.

Tutorspree

Tutorspree

Tutorspree wanted to enhance tutoring. Their vision of pairing up tutors and students to meet up in person was not practical, which made it shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Aaron Harris, Josh Abrams, Ryan Bednar

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2013

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Marketing

You can read more about their failure here.

101 Studios

101 Studios

101 Studios was a producer of video games that taught users things while they played. They went with a “business to professor” business model, but despite professors like the idea, they wouldn’t implement it in their classes. The startup could never reach product-market fit and shut down months later.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Matt “GundayMonday” Sever

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

  • Closed in:

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Market Fit

You can read more about their failure here.

Adleaf Technologies

Adleaf Technologies

Back in 2013, Chetan Vashistth founded his first startup business called “Adleaf Technologies”, a blend of programming bootcamps and software solutions. Business was good for a while, but the challenge of multiple bad business decisions paired with failed money management proved to be the business’s demise. In this interview, we will talk about the lessons Chetan learned the hard way.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Chetan Vashistth

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2014

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

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.

DotaHaven

DotaHaven

Kyril is the founder of DotaHaven, a gaming content site that’s currently passing away. The website had early success, raising $90k, growing from 0 to 500k page views/mo in 6 months and making $3.5/mo at its peak. However, in the last months, the business has struggled to make enough money to keep running; over-investment in a non-validated concept is one of the reasons for their failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Kyril Kotashev

  • Country:

    Bulgaria

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    < $100K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Market Fit

You can read more about their failure here.

Formatically

Formatically

Duncan Hamra has been building businesses with his best friend Tyler since they were in high school. They built Formatically, an instant citation tool that didn't take off. We'll discuss what went wrong with this project, and how those learnings helped him start Memberstack.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Duncan Hamra

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • 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.

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.

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.

Pactero

Pactero

Wes founded Pactero, a platform to simplify the process of managing income share agreements. He confused the initial launch hype with market validation, but it was vanity. The business made around $180 total after spending $55k.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Wes Wagner

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2020

  • Closed in:

    2021

  • Funding Amount:

    $100K-$500K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

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 Blogging Manifesto

The Blogging Manifesto

The Blogging Manifesto was a blog to help readers with their blogging problems. The lack of passion resulted to be a big problem.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Ryan Biddulph

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Education

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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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