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Lack of Focus Failures

36 Failed Startups with a Lack of Focus

Startups are hard and becoming a successful one is even harder, so here is a list of 36 failed startups with a lack of focus that you can learn from.

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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 36 startups that failed due to a lack of focus, along with analyses on why they shut down and interviews with their founders.


36 Failed Startups with a Lack of Focus

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Brisk

Brisk

Brisk was a sales and marketing platform founded in 2012. They started to offer customization to paying customers, but this became costly in the long term.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Alfred Beckman, Andreas Pålsson, Hampus Jakobsson, Mikael Tellhed

  • Country:

    Sweden

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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.

Kiko

Kiko

Kiko was a calendar app offering API integrations with other tools. The team worked on various ideas and plans at the same time, which led to its failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Emmett Shear, Justin Kan

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2003

  • Closed in:

    2008

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Management

You can read more about their failure here.

Lumos

Lumos

Lumos provided the ultimate smart switching tech. After the shutdown, the founders recognized they were not the right team to build a hardware company.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Pritesh Sankhe, Tarkeshwar Singh, Yash Kotak

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

You can read more about their failure here.

MatterFab

MatterFab

MatterFab had the goal of making metal-based manufacturing affordable. However, the business never found a profitable business model and pricing strategy.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Matthew Burris

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

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.

Reach.ly

Reach.ly

Reach.ly was an analytics tool for e-commerce sites providing customer behavior patterns. Lack of proper market feedback made the company shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ernests Štāls

  • Country:

    Latvia

  • Industry:

    Analytics

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    < $1M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

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.

Shipbeat

Shipbeat

Shipbeat was an API to help e-commerces. When Shipbeat expanded its logistic services in other market areas, they had some big difficulties and shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Joachim Rørbøl, Kenneth Svenningse

  • Country:

    Denmark

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2014

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Sip

Sip

Sip was made by ProductHunt. It covered news in the tech industry in a bite-size format. Due to no market need and lack of focus, PH shut it down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ryan Hoover, Nick Abouzeid, Chad Whitaker

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Productivity

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    1-10

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

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.

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.

Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch

Stratolaunch aimed to launch orbital rockets from the stratosphere. Paul Allen’s passing away in October of 2018 spell out the same fate for Stratolaunch.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Paul Allen

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    500-1,000

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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.

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.

Adproval

Adproval

Matthew founded Adproval, a marketplace to connect blogging and social media influencers with brands. Raised around $300k in funds and made $200/mo from their self-service software for bloggers. In the end, they made over $200k in revenue from consulting services but it wasn't enough.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Matthew Anderson

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Funding Amount:

    $100K-$500K

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

You can read more about their failure here.

Brisk

Brisk

Brisk was a prescriptive intelligence company which suffered from lack of focus. Being dependant on Salesforce was a fatal mistake.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Hampus Jakobsson

  • Country:

    Sweden

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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.

Delite

Delite

Delite was a SaaS platform for B2B wholesale orders. It didn’t satisfy any necessity of customers. Just that thing in life you keep putting off.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Patrick Walls

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

You can read more about their failure here.

Eloquis

Eloquis

Eloquis was all about bringing personalization to mobile apps. The problem? Early in the market and targeted the wrong customer segment.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Rohit Nallapeta

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2010

  • Closed in:

    2011

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    No Market Need

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.

FreshConnect

FreshConnect

Tarun co-founded Freshconnect, an online B2B marketplace for fresh agricultural produce like fruits & vegetables. After making mistakes like lack of focus and bad hiring, they couldn't secure a funding round and eventually got acqui-hired by another company.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Tarun Gupta

  • Country:

    India

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Management

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.

Ink

Ink

Andrew Askins, in partner with two of his best friends, started his company Krit in 2014. In 2015 they launched Ink, a tool that let freelancers create contracts and get them signed online. They got a couple thousand free users, but ultimately got burnt out before they could make the business model work. Now, they have been able to overcome this failure and build a successful consulting business.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Andrew Askins

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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.

Legaats

Legaats

Legaats was a web app where baby boomers and senior citizens could share their important life lessons. 5 were the causes of its failure.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Deepak Chhugani

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2017

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Bad Business Model

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.

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.

Profitabilly

Profitabilly

Natagon is an entrepreneur from Bali who, trying to solve a problem he was struggling with in his development agency, built a SaaS that mixed a project management software with an accounting one. Using cold-emails, he was soon able to make it profitable, but lack of passion led to its shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Natagon

  • Country:

    Indonesia

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2018

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

You can read more about their failure here.

Raw Gains

Raw Gains

Jack Ellis quit his full-time job to pursue Raw Gains, a fitness app focused on bodybuilding & coaching. It was self-funded and worked alone on the project. After a meaningless launch, he expected people would “just turn up” and stopped working on it.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Jack Ellis

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

You can read more about their failure here.

Taleship

Taleship

Sergio Mattei is an 18-year-old entrepreneur who built Taleship, a social writing application. He developed it himself when he was 16 and participated in a startup competition. Unfortunately, he didn’t win, but was able to get a lot of experience and knowledge that allowed him to grow it to +600 users. Hurricane Maria demotivated Sergio, who finally decided to shut down Taleship.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Sergio Mattei Diaz

  • Country:

    Puerto Rico

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Focus

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.

Toki

Toki

Vladimir was the founder of Toki, a one-stop solution to finding trends and analytics on TikTok. It started as a side-project, but after launching on Product Hunt, they realized they didn't have a deep connection with the problem they were tackling and lost motivation to keep going.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Vladimir Esaulov

  • Country:

    Russia

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2020

  • Closed in:

    2020

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

You can read more about their failure here.

Vacation Bird

Vacation Bird

Gene founded VacationBird, a marketplace for finding your vacation rental. It was an early version of Airbnb and a VRBO competitor. Having a misalignment of incentives between co-founders and poor planning were the main causes to shut it down in 2012.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Gene Maryushenko

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2012

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Experience

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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