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Mismanagement of Funds Failures

20 Failed Startups that Mismanaged Funds

Here are 20 startups that mismanaged funds 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 20 startups that failed due to mismanaging funds, along with analyses on why they shut down and interviews with their founders.


20 Failed Startups that Mismanaged Funds

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Auctionata

Auctionata

Auctionata was an online auction platform for art and luxury. Their issues originated from unethical behavior, lack of transparency, and lies by the CEO.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Alexander Gilkes, Alexander Zacke, Georg Untersalmberger, Susanne Zacke

  • Country:

    Germany

  • Industry:

    e-Commerce

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2017

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

You can read more about their failure here.

Beepi

Beepi

Beepi was a marketplace for used cars. They ran out of cash to operate and tried to sell to potential buyers, but didn't achieve to close the operation.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ale Resnik, Owen Savir

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Crowdmix

Crowdmix

Crowdmix was a music streaming platform where people could listen and talk about their favorite bands. They spent £14M before having a working product.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Gareth Ingham, Ian Roberts

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Music

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

DotCloud

DotCloud

dotCloud was a PaaS for developers that enabled them to host, assemble and run their applications. They could not sustain operation costs by themselves.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Solomon Hykes

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2008

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    250-500

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Fuhu

Fuhu

Fuhu was a seller of cloud-served software. After reaching Top 1 on Inc 500, the company amassed an enormous amount of debt and had a very high burn rate.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    John Hui, Robb Fujioka, Steve Hui

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2006

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    500-1,000

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Radar Radio

Radar Radio

Radar Radio was an online radio station that was the breeding ground for the most talented musicians. It struggled with a debt of £3.6M and they shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Ollie Ashley

  • Country:

    United Kingdom

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2008

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

RewardMe

RewardMe

RewardMe was a real-time intelligent CRM Platform for Local Commerce. They wanted to scale up the company prematurely, which lead to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Jun Loayza, Stephen Johnson, Yu-kai Chou

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Marketing

  • Started in:

    2010

  • 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.

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.

Skully

Skully

Skully was a helmet targetting motorcycle riders. They had to close shops due to no fundings and couldn't complete the production of the pre-orders.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Marcus Weller, Mitch Weller

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $10M-$50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Theranos

Theranos

Theranos was a way to predict diseases with small blood samples. They raised $1.4B but legal investigations pointed out it was a fraud and shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Elizabeth Holmes

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Health

  • Started in:

    2003

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    > $50M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Legal Challenges

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.

Utrip

Utrip

Utrip was a travel planning startup that used AI to create personalized itineraries. Keeping the recommendation engine alive was too much for them.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Gilad Berenstein, Yair Berenstein

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Travel

  • Started in:

    2012

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    10-50

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

WOW Air

WOW Air

WOW Air was the Icelandic answer to RyanAir for low-cost air travel in Europe. The cause of failure was that they wanted to become too big too fast.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Skuli Mogensen

  • Country:

    Iceland

  • Industry:

    Transportation

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Nº of employees:

    50-100

  • Funding Amount:

    No Data

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Multiple Reasons

You can read more about their failure here.

Zirtual

Zirtual

Zirtual was a virtual assistant marketplace for busy entrepreneurs. Its management and the high burn rate brought the firm on the verge of bankruptcy.

Details of the startup:

  • Founders:

    Collin Vine, Erik Jensen, Maren Kate Donovan

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Software & Hardware

  • Started in:

    2011

  • Closed in:

    2015

  • Nº of employees:

    100-250

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$10M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

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.

Gawkbox

Gawkbox

GawkBox was a platform where viewers of live streams could play mobile games to donate real money to streamers. Chris co-founded this as his first startup and he was able to successfully raise $4.4M in venture funding, which the startup invested in marketing until they achieved 500k users and more than $1M in revenue. However, multiple mistakes and a series of reasons led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Christopher Brownridge

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Entertainment

  • Started in:

    2016

  • Closed in:

    2019

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Lack of Funds

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.

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.

Vulpine

Vulpine

Derric Haynie is an entrepreneur based in Oakland, California who, years ago, launched Vulpine Interactive, a social media and advertising agency. Peaking at 10 clients, $40k/mo and 5 employees, things were expected to keep going well. However, they ended up shutting the business and walked away with $70k in debt. Learn what happened!

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Derric Haynie

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2013

  • Closed in:

    2018

  • Funding Amount:

    $0

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

Zapstream

Zapstream

Zapstream was a social live streaming platform, which competed with Meerkat and Periscope. The startup raised $1m from angels and grew from 0 to 100k users. However, a combination of dwindling engagement, mismanagement of money, and the inability to fundraise further, led to their shut down.

Details of the startup:

  • Founder:

    Devan Sood

  • Country:

    United States

  • Industry:

    Social Media

  • Started in:

    2015

  • Closed in:

    2016

  • Funding Amount:

    $1M-$5M

  • Specific cause of failure:

    Mismanagement of Funds

You can read more about their failure here.

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