111 Of The Biggest, Costliest Startup Failures Of All Time

fail

From financial fraud to just running out money, we scanned our database to identify 111 of the most expensive startup flameouts in history.

For those who’ve been reading, we’ve had failure on the brain recently.

Why? Partly because it’s a good counterbalance to the typical survivorship bias laden stories we read, and also because understanding failure is critical to the algorithms underlying our product.

Some of the fail-related research we’ve issued includes:

In this review of failure, we’ve looked in our venture capital database to find the most well-funded startup companies that ultimately failed or had an undesirable exit, such as an asset sale or an acquisition for less than the total funding raised by the company.

As you’ll see below, the reasons for failure are varied. But a few common threads do emerge, such as an inability to generate sustainable revenue, bad product-market fit, losing to competitors, and (of course) simply running out of money.

The Top 20 Reasons Startups Fail
We analyzed 100+ startup failure post-mortems and identified the top 20 reasons startups fail.

And then there were some uncommon and more dramatic causes of failure including:

  • Financial fraud
  • Lawsuits
  • A most-wanted founder

We’ve broken down the companies that failed by the amount of funding they received, starting with those that failed that raised over $100M. (Ouch). We then highlight discussion about the reasons for failure based on press reports, founder post-mortems, and company statements. [Note: We last updated this post in June 2017.]

Total Funding: Over $100M

Company: Beepi

Select VC Investors: SAIC Motor, Foundation Capital, Gil Penchina, Redpoint Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $147.7M

Riding on the hype of transportation startups and marketplaces, Beepi may have raised too much, too soon. “They were running the business to raise money, and then to get someone else to take it on,” was how one person described it.

One investor in the startup said that the founders were too aggressive in pushing for higher valuations. Indeed, co-founder Alejandro Resnik, the CEO, told the WSJ in 2015 that it was looking to raise a “monster round” of $300 million at a $2 billion valuation to fuel its national expansion.

via TechCrunch

 

Company: AOptix Technologies

Select VC Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lehman Brothers, Clearstone Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $107.9M

Long-time Free-Space Optics (FSO) player AOptix has shut up shop and is selling off its assets at auction next week… the company is currently trying to shop around its intellectual property.

A source tells Light Reading that AOptix’s hybrid radio-FSO units were expensive, selling for up to $80,000 a link. Carriers in the US and beyond are looking at wireless backhaul as alternative to fiber, but the expectation is that it should be cheaper and easier to install as well.

via Light Reading

 

Company: Guvera

Select VC Investors: AMMA Private Investment

Total equity financing raised: $102.6M

Australian music streaming company Guvera has reportedly stopped operating, with its co-founder and biggest financial backer walking away from the project. The startup, which was established in 2008, privately raised $185 million before its $100 million initial public offering was blocked by the Australian Securities Exchange last year.

Guvera’s IPO prospectus was widely criticised and the company was forced to issue an updated version with 45 amendments after scrutiny from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The company had lost $81 million in the 2016 financial year with revenue of just $1.2 million.

via Business Insider

 

Company: ChaCha

Select VC Investors: Qualcomm Ventures, Rho Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $108M

Advertising revenue declined sharply [2016], leaving the company unable to service its debt, and no suitors took a bite. So its secured lender, which [founder Scott] Jones didn’t name, recently emptied ChaCha’s bank accounts.

“We sold some assets, but not enough to sufficiently cover all of our obligations,” Jones said in an email Monday morning. “Unfortunately, our debtholders and shareholders, including me, will be writing off their investment.”

via Indianapolis Business Journal

 

Company: Drugstore.com

Select VC Investors: Amazon, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Maveron

Total equity financing raised: $157M

[Walgreen's wants] to make sure they can invest more of the equity in Walgreens.com. Drugstore.com and Beauty.com are distractions.

via Wall Street Journal

At the end of the day, it’s about getting new customers, increasing the frequency of transactions and increasing transaction sizes. When I see the retirement of these two domain names, I see a play (for Walgreens.com) in all those spaces.

via Chicago Tribune

 

Company: Mode Media

Select VC Investors: Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Greycroft Partners

Total equity financing raised: $229M

“The general consensus of the employee base is that there was mismanagement of finances,” said one former company executive…

The day after the shutdown announcement, one Mode manager of an overseas office described receiving frantic emails from headquarters requesting immediate transfer of all funds and assets back to the US.

“It was the most unprofessional, unethical experience imaginable. [A] confirmed catastrophe,” another exec said about the shutdown. “It’s so catastrophically unethical. No one can believe it.”

via Business Insider

 

Company: Next Step Living

Select VC Investors: Black Coral Capital, Braemar Energy Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $100.8M

The firm intended to provide a missing channel for residential energy services leveraging its core energy-audit business. At one point Next Step Living had more than 800 employees and was generating more than $100 million in annual revenue.

In order to spur revenue, the company moved into downstream energy services such as solar installation and insulation installation and found itself in a low-margin business with a high rate of cash burn. The company also found itself confronted by conflicting energy program mandates and regulations.

By the time NSL tried to return to its core home energy audit skills and jettison its downstream installation businesses, many of the VC investors had chosen to stop investing in NSL, despite their earlier entreaties for growth at all costs.

via GreenTech Media

 

Company: KiOR

Select VC Investors: Khosla Ventures, Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Artis Capital Management

Total equity financing raised: $252.9M

Different parties disagree about which side was responsible — Khosla Ventures or [chemical engineer Paul] O’Connor and the CEO — but most agree that KiOR made poor hiring decisions as it staffed up. The result was a relative preponderance of lab researchers with Ph.D.s and a dearth of people with technical, operational experience running energy facilities. The lack of people with real operational experience “hurt KiOR a lot,” says O’Connor.

via Fortune

 

Company: Aquion Energy

Select VC Investors: Bill Gates, CapX Partners, Constellation Technology Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $196.6M

Company CEO, Scott Pearson, commented: “Creating a new electrochemistry and an associated battery platform at commercial scale is extremely complex, time-consuming, and very capital intensive. Despite our best efforts to fund the company and continue to fuel our growth, the Company has been unable to raise the growth capital needed to continue operating as a going concern.”

via Cleantechnica

 

Company: Quixey

Select VC Investors: Alibaba Group, Atlantic Bridge Capital, GGV Capital

Total equity financing raised: $164.2M

Quixey, which revealed last month it was ‘exploring strategic options,’ has reportedly shut down… in part due to its inability to repay a loan provided by a shareholder, e-commerce firm Alibaba. (Read the Axios report here.)

via Global Corporate Venturing

 

Company: Quirky

Select VC Investors: RRE Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz

Total equity financing raised: $185.3M

Steering the ship — handling all of the engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and retailing, even when you’re taking 90 percent of the subsequent profits — was ultimately too expensive of a proposition, especially in comparison to other, less-handholding-oriented start-ups. “The reason why Kickstarter makes a ton of money is they don’t have to do anything besides put up a website,” [founder Ben] Kaufman notes.

via New York Magazine

 

Company: Powa Technologies

Select VC Investors: Wellington Management, Otto Group

Total equity financing raised: $176.3 million + at least $50 million of debt

The chief executive’s downbeat tone was a stark contrast to an optimistic tone last year. “I’ve forced you to hold out your nerve because I asked you to and I’ve taken you through that, but we’re past that point and now it’s all sunshine and light,” he said in a staff video.

In a meeting with the Financial Times last April, [Dan] Wagner compared himself to John Rockefeller, the US business magnate who dominated the oil and rail industries in the 19th century. He believed Powa would set down mobile payments infrastructure that would be just as revolutionary.

“What we’re building here is the biggest tech company in living memory,” he said in his offices in Heron Tower, a skyscraper in the heart of the City of London. A person with knowledge of the matter said that Powa could be paying as much as £2.5m a year.

via The Financial Times

 

Company: Lilliputian Systems

Select VC Investors: Kleiner Perkins, Atlas Venture, Intel Capital

Total equity financing raised: $150.4M

The Nectar system had its roots at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Lab — and may have simply left the lab a few years too early.

via Beta Boston

 

Company: Rdio

Select VC Investors: Atomico, Mangrove Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $117.5M

“Rdio, I guess, made the mistake of trying to be sustainable too early,” says [early employee Wilson] Miner. “That classic startup mistake of worrying about being profitable and having a business that makes any sense before you’ve reached this astronomical growth curve. Which is partly the trap of the business model itself — because of the content licensing deals, the margins for the business were so incredibly thin. No matter what we did, the labels made the lion’s share of the revenue. You have to make it up with extreme volume, which is why you see Spotify going after every human being in the world.”

via The Verge

 

Company: OnLive

Select VC Investors: Lauder Partners, Time Warner Investments

Total equity financing raised: $116.5M

First there were doubts about its ability to deliver a lag-free experience, then business troubles led to a form of bankruptcy followed by big layoffs and a buyout, and all sorts of uncertainty after that.

via Kotaku

 

Company: Coraid

Select VC Investors: Azure Capital Partners, Menlo Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $114.3M

Its U.S. operations and had not been successful in raising new funding, among other things. A CRN report earlier this month said the company was closing up for good and was filing for bankruptcy.

via Venture Beat

 

Company: Terralliance

Select VC Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Goldman Sachs, DAG Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $296.3M

“All told, the investors had sunk nearly half-a-billion dollars into Terralliance, an astounding sum given the audacity of the company’s aspirations — and the paucity of its accomplishments.”

via Fortune

 

Company: Solyndra

Select VC Investors: Redpoint Ventures, US Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $1.22B

Even industry heavyweights such as China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd and U.S.-based First Solar Inc are struggling with dwindling profits, while small, up-and-coming solar companies are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat.

Solyndra said it was evaluating options, including a sale of the business and licensing its copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) technology.

via Reuters

 

Company: Webvan Group

Select VC Investors: Sequoia Capital, Softbank Capital

Total equity financing raised: $275.2M

“They spent so much money on all this infrastructure, which was basically part of their business model,” [stock analyst David] Kathman said. “But what they hoped was going to be their advantage turned out to be their downfall. They got big fast, but size turned out to be an albatross when the demand wasn’t there.”

One reason demand fell short was that Webvan wasn’t as convenient as it billed itself, Kathman said.

via SFGate

 

Company: Better Place

Select VC Investors: VantagePoint Capital Partners, Lend Lease Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $675.3M

The bet was risky because it required large geographies — indeed, entire nations — to adopt the technology in order for it to scale successfully. The company chose small countries like Israel and Denmark to test its model, but the company’s upfront costs kept mounting, and it kept delaying debuts. Also, a number of competing electric car efforts, including the venture by new company Tesla but also by the Big 3 and other manufacturers, kept the industry from adopting any one standard.

via VentureBeat

 

Company: Amp’d Mobile

Select VC Investors: Highland Capital Partners, Columbia Capital, Redpoint Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $324.5M

Maybe it was Verizon’s most recent in-court request to stop serving up costly airwaves for which it couldn’t pay, maybe it was the cold reality that it’ll allegedly have a mere $9,000 in the bank as of next Monday — but at any rate, Amp’d Mobile appears ready to throw in the towel.

via Engadget

 

Company: AllAdvantage.com

Select VC Investors: Alloy Ventures, Walden Venture Capital

Total equity financing raised: $133.8M

In a statement posted on the site, the company said the move was taken because “the advertising and capital markets have changed so fundamentally that it is now impossible to continue our infomediary incentive programs and benefits.” . . . The company saw traffic to its Web site drop significantly during the last six months of 2000. In June, the site was drawing visitors 2 million visitors each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. That number dropped to less than 600,000 by December.

via San Francisco Business Times

 

Company: Kozmo.com

Select VC Investors: Oak Investment PartnersFlatiron Partners

Total equity financing raised: $256.5M

If making money on operations was a near impossibility, Kozmo seemed perpetually on the precipice of tapping into the public equity markets. Meanwhile, it floated other plans, like starting a print catalogue and delivering for local retailers. But then they discovered that other retailers had their own deliverymen.

via Forbes

 

Company: eToys

Select VC Investors: Bessemer Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital

Total equity financing raised: Undisclosed, but raised $166.4M at IPO

The company also said it was on the verge of being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange. The exchange sent a notice to eToys, threatening to remove the company by May 2 because it has failed to maintain at least a $1 share price for 30 consecutive days, according to Gary Gerdemann, spokesman for eToys.

The events were not a complete surprise, given that company executives had cautioned late last year that eToys had only enough cash to remain open through March.

via The New York Times

 

Company: Caspian Networks

Select VC Investors: New Enterprise Associates, US Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $260M

First core routing. Then P2P networking. Then net neutrality. Investors apparently put the kibosh on the company before it crow-barred itself into another communications fad.

via Light Reading

 

Company: Pay By Touch

Select VC Investors: Mobius Venture Capital, Rembrandt Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $130M

 Despite those early customers, processing fingerprint payments has not taken off as expected. Pay By Touch claims that it has fingerprint scanners in 3,000 stores, but the privately held company has never disclosed how many transactions it processes. For millions of consumers accustomed to using credit and debit cards, the proposition of using a fingerprint hasn’t been all that appealing. “It’s hard to fight the credit-card companies,” says Gartner (IT) analyst Avivah Litan. “Consumers are so used to racking up frequent-flier miles and other rewards that it’s like a David vs. Goliath situation. There’s just not much of a value proposition for the consumer to use a fingerprint.”

via Bloomberg Businessweek

 

Company: RealNames Corporation

Select VC Investors: Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Clearstone Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $116.2M

RealNames said it had no choice to but to close operations as Microsoft was its primary distribution partner. Microsoft was owed $25 million for RealNames “resolutions” already delivered over the past two years and remained unwilling to bet that RealNames would become successful in the long-term. In addition, Microsoft expressed concerns about the quality of RealNames keywords that were sold.

The bad guy in all of this is clear: Microsoft, at least when reading the commentary posted on the weblog run by RealNames founder and former CEO Keith Teare, as well as comments he’s made to the press.

via  Search Engine Watch

 

Company: Boo.com

Select VC Investors: Arts Alliance

Total equity financing raised: $135M

“The firm mis-timed and failed to execute on a good idea,” Torris said. “They started by keeping most of their target audience out,” she added, referring to the need for high-speed connections to easily use the site.

Torris said Boo.com also spent too much on advertising and promotions and failed to keep pushing forward on technology innovations. She pointed out that sites such as Landsend.com now feature similar “try on” technology and that third party vendors have begun to develop similar Web sites.

via eCommerce Times

 

Company: Savaje Technologies

Select VC Investors: VantagePoint Venture Partners, RRE Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $113.7M

Now the company is close to closing its doors as it seeks additional funding from venture capitalists. The company, which employs about 140 people, had furloughed its developers and some other employees early in October, asking them to use up their vacation time or go on unpaid leave while Savaje moved to find its way out of its financial troubles.

via eWeek

 

Company: Pets.com

Select VC Investors:  Hummer Winblad Partners, Bowman Capital

Total equity financing raised: $110M

 Almost from the start, Pets.com was a losing proposition, despite its backers’ talk about how much money consumers lavish on their pets. Many pet supplies are heavy and costly to ship — cat litter, cans of dog food — and the firm couldn’t sell enough higher-profit items such as pet toys. Moreover, to attract customers, the company depended heavily on discounts, said Jupiter Communications analyst Heather Dougherty. As a result, the firm was selling supplies below cost the entire time.

via The Wall Street Journal

 

Company: Cereva Networks

Select VC Investors: Oak Investment Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Goldman Sachs

Total equity financing raised: $109.5M

A victim of swiftly shrinking corporate IT budgets and a sharp drop in demand for the startup’s large-scale enterprise storage systems, the Marlborough, MA.-based company last week abruptly shut down and laid off 140 employees.

via DSstar

 

Company: COPAN Systems

Select VC Investors: Globespan Capital Partners, Austin Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $108.4M

The COPAN product was well differentiated. The weakness was their not understanding, focusing and exploiting its sweet spot. A consequence of an incomplete or erroneous market understanding and a sole reliance on the internal body of experience and knowledge.

via Toolbox.com

 

Company: Calxeda

Select VC Investors: Battery Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $103M

ARM server chip designer Calxeda has shut down as one of its executives told The Register: “We simply ran out of money.”

via The Register

 

Total Funding: $75M – $100M

 

Company: Auctionata

Select VC Investors: German Startups Group, Bright Capital, e.ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital

Total equity financing raised: $97.4M

Auctionata has been in decline since news of serious trade violations perpetrated by co-founder and former CEO Alexander Zacke came to light in March 2016, when Zacke and Auctionata board members were accused of illegally bidding on their own auctions.

Months later, reports of business difficulties at Auctionata emerged after independent evaluations of auction results suggested that the house was making only very few direct sales. At the time, the company insisted that the figures didn’t take into account private sales and other revenue streams.

via artnet news

 

Company: Sonitus Medical

Select VC Investors: GE Capital, Aberdare Ventures, Novartis Venture Funds, RWI Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $89.7M

We took a prevalent surgical treatment into the office where we reduced the cost by half and we significantly impact patient safety because there was no surgery involved and we made it more effective…

They [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)] arbitrarily draw a line saying, “No, you are not qualified for coverage because the way we draw a line between what’s a prosthetic and what’s a hearing aid is whether it involves surgery or not.”

via MDDI Online

 

Company: DeNovis, Inc.

Select VC Investors: Advanced Technology Ventures, UV Partners

Total equity financing raised: $97.8M

In a Boston Globe interview in January, he had indicated that the company’s financial performance was a pressing concern. He said the $22 million in venture capital the company raised nine months ago was effectively its last chance.

But having spent such a large sum of venture capital, DeNovis needed to go public or find a deep-pocketed buyer to return a large profit to its investors. Burkett said at the time, ”I only hear that about 11 times a day.”

via Boston Globe

 

Company: Aereo

Select VC Investors: FirstMark Capital, Highland Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $97M

Inside the infrastructure that drove its online service, it assigned every Aereo user a mini broadcast TV antenna, and it used this to argue that its service was no different than sticking a pair of bunny ears on your television. That way, Aereo could avoid paying retransmission fees for broadcasters’ content. But broadcasters never bought this argument, and when it came down to it, neither did the US Supreme Court.

via Wired

 

Company: Beyond The Rack

Select VC Investors: Silicon Valley Bank, BDC Venture Capital, Highland Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $95.6M

Launched in 2009 by former Saks executive Yona Shtern, Beyond the Rack pitches steep markdowns on designer goods, accessories and home décor. The sales typically last 48 hours and are announced to email subscribers. The company has 14 million members, and 450,000 active buyers, according to court filings.

But Beyond the Rack struggled to turn a profit and spent its funds on “aggressive and costly marketing campaigns aimed at increasing customer growth,” according to court papers. It filed for protection with less than $1 million in cash, the documents show.

via Wall Street Jourrnal

 

Company: Canopy Financial

Select VC Investors: GGV Capital, Foundation Capital

Total equity financing raised: $89.5M

…company management discovered earlier this month financial records provided to investors and lenders that were “fraudulent,” as well as “significant financial and accounting irregularities.”

via Wall Street Journal

 

Company: Soapstone Networks

Select VC Investors: Accel Partners, Oak Investment Partners

Total equity financing raised: $87.3M

Soapstone was an underdog from the start. Even as a known quantity, it was going to have to wrestle with the slow process of qualification at big carriers. The recession certainly didn’t help. And it seems to me (and one source from outside Soapstone agrees) that while Soapstone wasn’t entirely wrapped up in PBB-TE (Provider Backbone Bridging – Traffic Engineering), the stall in that technology’s ascent was a contributing factor, too.

via Light Reading

 

Company: Claria Corporation

Select VC Investors: US Venture Partners, Crosslink Capital

Total equity financing raised: $84M

The company realized that there were too many ad networks out there, and with the souring outlook for advertising, it made better sense to close shop and sell the company’s extensive set of patents, the source said.

via VentureBeat

 

Company: SunRocket

Select VC Investors: Anthem Capital, BlueRun Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $79.3M

Analysts have been predicting that it would be difficult for companies, like SunRocket and the more popular Vonage, to base an entire business around a VoIP service. While VoIP makes it relatively cheap to serve customers, it’s still expensive to acquire them.

via CNET

 

Company: 38 Studios

Select VC Investors: Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

Total equity financing raised: $75M

Add it all up, including interest, and already-cash-strapped Rhode Island could be out as much as $110 million on the loans. As Schilling sits beside the softball diamond, his company, with nearly $151 million in debt and just $22 million in assets, is being liquidated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

via Boston Magazine

 

Total Funding: $50M – $75M

 

Company: LOYAL3

Select VC Investors: Community Investment Management, Brevet Capital Management, Trinity Ventures, Giles Raymond

Total equity financing raised: $62.4M

Loyal3, a commission-free brokerage that initially emphasized IPO shares before transforming into a discount broker, announced Wednesday it will close its doors May 19.

Offering a portfolio of 70 stocks, the firm allowed beginner investors to purchase fractional shares and to engage in transactions as low as $10 and as high as $2,500. The strategy relied on batch trading, wherein Loyal3 grouped company trades and executed only once a day.

via Benzinga

 

Company: PepperTap

Select VC Investors: Innoven Capital, Sequoia Capital India

Total equity financing raised: $52M

PepperTap—which operated in a high-competition, low-margin market—decided to shut down its main e-grocery business after months of rapid expansion showed no signs of profitability and deep discounts led to high cash burn.

“Losing cash on every order (no matter how small or how controlled or how goal-oriented the burn) meant one day we will run out of cash – perhaps we could slow down the process but mathematically speaking, this was a certainty,” PepperTap co-founder Navneet Singh said while announcing the shutdown.

via TechCircle

 

Company: Sprig

Select VC Investors: Greylock Partners, Social Capital and Sozo Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $56.7M

“No question, I’m sad that the Sprig model did not work out,” CEO Gagan Biyani said in an email circulated to the app’s users. “The demand for Sprig’s convenient, high-quality food was always incredibly high, but the complexity of owning meal production through delivery at scale was a challenge.”

Sprig had raised $56.7 million to cook and deliver its own gourmet meals in the San Francisco area, but insiders said it was losing six figures monthly and could not expand the service into other cities.

via PYMNTS.com

 

Company: Dealstruck

Select VC Investors: Community Investment Management, Brevet Capital Management, Trinity Ventures, Giles Raymond

Total equity financing raised: $70.1M

Dealstruck closed its doors after more than three years in business. It did not close because the customer base isn’t there or due to a lack of demand for its lending products. It closed because a deal fell through.

via Crowdfund Insider

 

Company: Sand 9

Select VC Investors: Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, General Catalyst

Total equity financing raised: $55.5M

It was revealed last month that Sand 9′s website and phone numbers were no longer operating and that its former CEO and other executives had left the company.

Consultant Mark Sherwood, principal associate with Consulting Services and Associates LLC (Cupertino, Calif.), told eeNews Europe that although the piezoelectric technology showed promise Sand 9 had hit technical issues amidst changing markets and effectively outlasted investors’ patience.

Sherwood told eeNews Europe in email “I can confirm the sale of Sand 9 to Analog Devices Inc. We are now about three months post acquisition, and the Sand9 executive team is gone but the meat of the company was indeed the MEMS technology that had been in development for many years.”

via eeNews Analog

 

Company: Karhoo

Select VC Investors: David Kowitz, Jonathan Feuer, Nick Gatfield

Total equity financing raised: $52M

Ultimately, [its] structure … is based on very large economies of scale … building out any transport service before it can get to that scale is extremely capital intensive … Karhoo, however, didn’t appear to have the reach with consumers to achieve anything like enough scale. [Its shutdown letter states that the] “Karhoo staff around the world in London, New York, Singapore and Tel Aviv have, over the past 18-months [sic], worked tirelessly to make Karhoo a success. Many of them have worked unpaid for the last six weeks in an effort to get the business to a better place. Unfortunately, by the time the new management team took control last week, it was clear that the financial situation was pretty dire, and Karhoo was not able to find a backer.”

via TechCrunch

 

Company: Beenz.com

Select VC Investors: Gefinor Ventures, Apax Partners

Total equity financing raised: $73.8M

After the Internet bubble burst, e-currency companies tried to evolve by concentrating on business customers, but the collapse of a high-profile trailblazer such as Beenz shows that the Old Economy credit card companies have probably won the online shopping battle.

Experts believe that online currency sites such as Beenz were overtaken as a way of shopping online by credit cards, which had the advantage of being virtually universally accepted both on and offline.

via CNET

 

Company: Veoh Networks

Select VC Investors: Shelter Capital Partners, Spark Capital

Total equity financing raised: $70.8M

. . . the venture was pronounced dead in a tweet today by Veoh board member Todd Dagres of Spark Capital, a Boston VC firm that invested in Veoh Networks. Dagres tweeted, “Veoh is dead. Universal Music lawsuit was the main killer. Veoh won resoundingly but was mortally wounded by the senseless suit. Next.”

via Xconomy

 

Company: Dash Navigation

Select VC Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital

Total equity financing raised: $41M, sold for $8.3M to BlackBerry

 User adoption was slow, likely because the device carried a $600 price tag (later reduced to $399), but the service won praise from many reviewers, including Om. The navigation device was designed with true mobile web access and interactivity in mind, but sales were sluggish.

via Gigaom

 

Company: Move Networks

Select VC Investors: Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Steamboat Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $60.3M

 So what went wrong? For one thing, Move Networks never reached critical mass on the consumer side of things; despite early success with ABC, Fox, the CW, and others, many media companies shied away from the technology because it required a plugin that not many consumers had installed. This created a vicious chicken-and-egg problem: How do you get people to install the plugin if it’s not being used to deliver good premium content? And how do you get good premium content unless people already have the plugin installed?

via Gigaom

 

Company: Nirvanix

Select VC Investors: Valhalla Partners, Mission Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $70M

By trying to play in the pure storage business, Nirvanix found itself in a market that, over the past five years, became increasingly commoditized by Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure and now Google Compute Engine, which have all been engaging in a price war. With no service to offer on top of its storage, Nirvanix did not stand a great chance of differentiating from such large competitors.

via TechCrunch

 

Company: Expand Networks

Select VC Investors: The Challenge Fund-Etgar, Tamir Fishman Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $69M

Although Expand Networks won appreciation for its technology, its operational performance was much less impressive. The court documents show that it was losing $ 250,000 a month and had $ 11 million revenue in 2010. Although it was a pioneer in its field, it failed to make a breakthrough.

via Globe

 

Company: Ecast

Select VC Investors: Doll Capital Management, Crosslink Capital

Total equity financing raised: $66.8M

The San Francisco-based technology firm’s board of directors voted for an immediate shutdown after the company failed to raise enough capital to continue operating. “We worked diligently for this not to happen,” said Ecast vice-president of network operations Scott Walker. “We appreciate all the support from jukebox operators and the industry.”

via Vending Times

 

Company: Edgix

Select VC Investors: Battery Ventures, Venrock

Total equity financing raised: $65M

“Companies that joined in during the last few years are primarily the ones dropping out. Many never had a sound business model to begin [with]. Edgix is one example. The company was basically a carbon copy of Cidera and other ISP caching solutions, with little new to offer. They basically launched a platform and went into business believing they would quickly generate revenue. Unfortunately for companies such as Edgix, once you continually say to investors, ‘There is a market out there and we can own it,’ you start to believe it yourself.”

via Newsday

 

Company: DoubleTwist

Select VC Investors: Institutional Venture Partners, Boston Millennia Partners

Total equity financing raised: $56.6M

Two months later, DoubleTwist bowed to the inevitable. “No one was surprised by this,” Williamson told the San Francisco Chronicle, “but everyone was disappointed. We had a great product and a great team — we just didn’t have the revenues.”

via Bio-IT World

 

Company: Akimbo

Select VC Investors: Zone Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Total equity financing raised: $54.7M

The company had raised $4 million earlier this year from existing investors, but Chantel said the company was looking to raise $8 to 10 million to become cash positive with its new white-label strategy. Unfortunately, “there wasn’t enough runway to execute the plan,” he said.

via Gigaom

 

Company: Sequoia Communications

Select VC Investors: Tallwood Ventures, BlueRun Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $54M

Luis Arzubi, a general partner at Tallwood Ventures, told EE Times that Sequoia (San Diego) was forced to cease operations despite having working parts and customers because it failed to raise the needed capital to continue. The company and its investors “basically had no choice,” he said.

via EE Times

 

Company: govWorks

Select VC Investors: Tallwood Ventures, BlueRun Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $54M

govWorks, the brilliant idea, has been bungled badly in execution. Arrogant and overly aggressive, company officials have alienated key government partners and vendors. They have burned through millions in false starts and other fumbles, and it has lost time and ground to competitors. One of the co-founders has been forced out by the board and other senior executives. Now directors are looking for a more seasoned manager to help Isaza Tuzman run the company. Harvard Business School case study department, here they come.

via CNN Money

 

Total Funding: $25M – $50M

 

Company: SideCar Technologies

Select VC Investors: Google Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Softbank Capital

Total equity financing raised: $36.3M

Sidecar Technologies Inc., a smaller rival to Uber whose investors include Alphabet Inc.’s Google Ventures and British billionaire  Richard Branson, said it is shutting down its ride-sharing and delivery service and reassigning its staff to new projects.

The San Francisco startup, which was co-founded by Sunil Paul in 2011 and says it has raised $39 million in financing, cited a capital disadvantage to its competitors for the reversal. Uber has raised more than $12 billion in debt and equity while Lyft Inc. has collected about $1 billion in funding.

via Wall Street Journal

 

Company: Stayzilla

Select VC Investors: Matrix Partners India, Nexus Venture Partnerss

Total equity financing raised: $33.5M

Stayzilla CEO and co-founder Yogendra Vasupal was particularly reflective in his post, explaining how, as a founder, his own objectives were altered as the company ramped up.

“The initial 7 years were all about having negative working capital, positive cash flow and a sustained ability to fund our own growth. Those were the only metrics we tracked. In the last 3–4 years, though, I can honestly state that somewhere I lost my path. I started treasuring GMV, room-nights and other ‘vanity’ metrics instead of the fundamentals of cash flow and working capital,” he explained.

Note: Less than a month after the closure announcement, Vasupal was arrested for fraud in a bizarre case involving Stayzilla business dealings. Read more here.

via Iceland Review

 

Company: Mobeam

Select VC Investors: Glu Mobile, Greycroft Partners, Sequoia Capital, BOLDstart Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $39.8M

Another company’s dreams of changing the way we use coupons have ended in disappointment. Mobeam is no longer promising to “bring consumers one step closer to phasing out paper coupons entirely,” as it once did. Instead, it has now sold off its technology to Samsung, and has left the coupon industry trying to make something out of the new mobile couponing standard it helped to create.

Mobeam launched back in 2010, pitching a complex solution to a problem that most couponers didn’t know exists: Most retail scanners can’t read a barcode off a mobile device.n 2015 it was announced that NBC was going to develop a quiz show based on the game, which was supposed to premiere in spring 2017.

via Coupons in the News

 

Company: Plain Vanilla Games

Select VC Investors: Glu Mobile, Greycroft Partners, Sequoia Capital, BOLDstart Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $39.8M

In 2015 it was announced that NBC was going to develop a quiz show based on the game, which was supposed to premiere in spring 2017.

“We placed our bets on the extensive collaboration with the television giant NBC. One could say that we placed too many eggs in the NBC basket. We have spent a lot of time and energy on developing the show. When I received the message from NBC that they were canceling the production of the show, it became clear that the conditions for further operation, without substantial changes, were gone,” [CEO Þorsteinn B. Friðriksson] stated.

via Iceland Review

 

Company: Shoes.com

Select VC Investors: Undisclosed

Total equity financing raised: $36.5M

Doug Stephens, founder of consultancy Retail Prophet, said the company suffered from having too few managers from the fashion industry and too many from the technology sector. And customer service “wasn’t where it needed to be to give online customers the level of confidence necessary – especially in such a tricky category … It seems a matter of biting off way more than they could chew through a spate of acquisitions. Despite all the appearances of growth, market awareness was still quite low.”

via The Globe and Mail

 

Company: Carrier IQ

Select VC Investors: Accel Partners, CRV, and Mohr Davidow Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $42M

Knowledge of what (our) software tracked unbeknownst to the average user clearly hit a nerve with a public already skeptical about how private information is regarded by large corporations and other organizations for their own purposes … And so, unsurprisingly, following the revelations, there was a windfall of announcements about which companies were using it (and were not using it) to collect information; lawsuits over privacy violations and legislation drafted to tighten controls for the future. Some of those class-action suits, it appears, have been settled. As AT&T did not acquire the full company, we understand that it will not be liable for any outstanding litigation or settlements against CIQ.

via Tech Crunch

 

Company: Homejoy

Select VC Investors: First Round Capital, Google Ventures, Max Levchin

Total equity financing raised: $39.7MM

CEO Adora Cheung said the “deciding factor” was the four lawsuits it was fighting over whether its workers should be classified as employees or contractors. None of them were class actions yet, but they made fundraising that much harder.

“A lot of this is unfortunate timing. The [California Labor Commission’s] Uber decision … was only a single claim, but it was blown out of proportion,” she told Re/code.

via ReCode

 

Company: Laguna Pharmaceuticals

Select VC Investors: Sante Ventures and Versant Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $34.5M

Two months into its roughly 600-patient initial Phase 3 trial, called Restore SR, researchers started to see side effects that would not have enabled Laguna to market the drug as widely as they had initially anticipated, [Laguna CEO Bob] Baltera said. “We were actually very surprised,” he said. “The [prior] Phase 2 study was robust.” Baltera declined to say much about the side effects, describing them only as “safety signals.” “The normal response in this business is to find a way forward,” Baltera said. “But it just wasn’t going to be commercially viable. Rather than trying to find any path forward, we decided to shut the company down.”

via Xconomy

 

Company: Healthspot

Select VC Investors: BlueTree Allied Angels

Total equity financing raised: $32.7M

Jason Gorevic, CEO of telemedicine company Teladoc, expressed his belief that there are three critical elements to success in this industry segment: the technology platform, clinical capabilities and consumer engagement. “Consumer engagement is hard to do,” Gorevic said. This is where HealthSpot may have fallen down. Teladoc has two revenue streams: a per-member, per-month fee it charges its partners, plus a per-visit fee. “Because we have both of those revenue sources, we can pour that money back into our customers.” … Also, Teladoc is purely a software company, so it doesn’t have the overhead associated with building and delivering kiosks … A bigger issue, according to [CEO of American Well Roy] Schoenberg, is that HealthSpot required patients and providers to pre-arrange appointments; it was not truly telemedicine on demand. “You actually have to build a lot of administration around it,” he said.

via MedCity News

 

Company: Nebula

Select VC Investors: Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Total equity financing raised: $25M + $3.5M in debt

At the same time, we are deeply disappointed that the market will likely take another several years to mature. As a venture backed start up, we did not have the resources to wait.

via Nebula

 

Company: Nanochip

Select VC Investors: New Enterprise Associates, JK&B Capital

Total equity financing raised: $48.8M

“No matter what, you’ll need $70 million to take [Nanochip's technology] into production,” he [ CEO Gordon Knight] said.

That’s a large hurdle considering established chip companies have not been very active buyers lately and venture investors only put $327 million in chip deals in the first half of this year – not even half the amount for the same time last year, according to VentureSource, a research unit of Dow Jones & Co.

via Wall Street Journal

 

Company: Joost

Select VC Investors: Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $45M

Joost attracted investment — $45 million to be exact — because it appeared to be the antithesis of YouTube, suspected by the networks of enabling and then turning a blind eye to piracy. Indeed, news coverage at the time billed Joost as a “YouTube killer.” But while YouTube proved popular, was acquired by Google and came to dominate web video, adoption of Joost was stunted by its peer-to-peer technology, which allowed high-quality video but required a clunky software download.

via Crain’s New York

 

Company: Pixelon

Select VC Investors: Advanced Equities

“In April, Pixelon employees and investors were surprised to learn that the real name of Michael Fenne, the company’s founder and former chairman, was Paul Stanley. And they were more shocked to find out that Paul Stanley had been on Virginia’s most-wanted list for several years, after skipping bail following a stock-swindling conviction.”

via Wired

 

Company: Digg

Select VC Investors: Highland Capital Partners, Greylock Partners

Total equity financing raised: $44M

“In the soon-to-be end, Digg will become known as the first network to die from social fatigue,” wrote Mike Phillips in June 2010. “Facebook and Twitter are booming, LinkedIn is holding steady and even Myspace seems to have settled into a niche. But Digg is in a deadly, unrecoverable tail spin.

“The fact is, people – real people – are beginning to tire. Submit this, upload that, vote on this, ‘like’ that, be my ‘friend’, check in here, suggest this, retweet that … there’s already so much to do. The only thing left to ‘Digg’ is a grave.”

via The Guardian

 

Company: ThumbPlay

Select VC Investors: i-Hatch Ventures, Softbank Capital

Total equity financing raised: $41M

Our source tells us that the sale is a do-or-die scenario because the company is running out of cash: “The price is very low. No one is making any money.” . . . the music industry has been hit hard with cannibalisation from digital sales and piracy. And the promise of new revenues, on the back of the explosion in mobile and internet usage, have yet to materialise for most music companies, with Apple’s iTunes dominating the market with more than a 60 percent share.

via Gigaom

 

Company: Color Labs

Select VC Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Sequoia Capital

Total equity financing raised: $41M

Nevertheless, the app simply failed to gain much traction with users, with reviewers often commenting that Color appeared to be an app trying to solve a problem that didn’t seem to exist.

via PCMag

 

Company: Goodmail Systems

Select VC Investors: Doll Capital Management, Emergence Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $40M

Daniel Dreymann, cofounder and CEO of Goodmail, said the biggest reason for the shutdown was an aborted acquisition attempt by a firm he would only call a “Fortune 500 company.”

via Direct Marketing News

 

Company: Vente-Privee 

Select VC Investors: Summit Partners

Former employees said Granjon and his co-founders mismanaged the U.S. operation. For example, the co-founders were insulted when their American team adapted the design of the site to be more user-friendly. Confused by the presence of Facebook share buttons, a fairly standard feature for e-commerce sites, Granjon once asked a manager, “Why are you running ads for Facebook on my website?”

via Fortune

 

Company: Xeround

Select VC Investors: Benchmark Capital, Ignition Partners

Total equity financing raised: $39.8M + $4M of debt

Xeround is shutting down their MySQL Database as a Service (DBaaS) because their free instances, while popular, simply did not convert into sufficient paid instances to support the company.

via Head in the Clouds

 

Company: Webvisible

Select VC Investors: Sutter Hill Ventures, Redpoint Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $37M

“Even with all our efforts to recover throughout this past year, we found ourselves in a position in which the debt load of the company was simply too much to overcome. Our bank foreclosed on its loan which means they are taking over the company’s assets and collecting all remaining payments. As a result they have forced the company to shut down.”

via TechCrunch

 

Company: ArsDigita

Select VC Investors: Trident Capital, Greylock Partners

Total equity financing raised: $35M

The technical and managerial incompetence of the VCs and those they hired drove the company into the ground. All but 10 of the 240 employees were fired, laid off, or quit. All of the $40+ million in venture capital was squandered. The monthly operating profit turned to loss as more talentless executives were hired who threw out the company’s old, useful products and put their blind faith in engineers who spent millions building complicated software that solved no business problems.

via Content Wire

 

Company: Optiva

Select VC Investors: AltoTech Ventures, NGEN Partners

Total equity financing raised: $30M

 Like most other nanotech companies, Optiva took a while to get its product out. It shifted focus, its technology changed, as did the market. Its “polarizer” technology was supposed to be sold for use in wrist watch, calculator and PDA displays, but as VentureWire reports, suddenly the people who already made the displays found a glut of scrap material, which was also suitable, thus resulting in a rapid drop in market prices.

via SiliconBeat

 

Company: Flooz.com

Select VC Investors: Oak Investment Partners, Maveron

Total equity financing raised: $51.5M

 While the company says it suffered in an unfavorable economic climate, credit card fraud also played a part in its demise. “We have been the victims of organized credit card fraud,” says Levitan, who says Flooz was hit for $300,000 for transactions charged to card numbers stolen by an international crime ring. The company’s credit card processor was holding $1 million in Flooz’s funds to cover chargebacks, says Levitan.

via Internet Retailer

 

Company: AdBrite

Select VC Investors: Sequoia Capital, Artis Capital Management

Total equity financing raised: $35M

Despite claiming to be the largest independent ad exchange and at one time being seen as a serious competitor to Google Adwords, it seems that they were unable to make enough money or sell the company to potential buyers.

via Performance Marketing Insider

 

Company: Microdisplay Corporation

Select VC Investors: Mobius Venture Capital, BlueRun Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $33M

“We knew that we were entering a mature, competitive market, and that we had a narrow window in which to succeed. We developed a TV with a unique display technology, excellent picture quality and a low cost, and we saw an opportunity. Unfortunately, the recent uncertainty in the TV industry, highlighted by particularly slow sales in May, made it virtually impossible to introduce a new type of projection TV at this time.”

via Twice

 

Company: Cuil

Select VC Investors: Tugboat Ventures, Greylock Partners

Total equity financing raised: $33M

…if it has failed, it’s probably because the name is tough to spell and unintuitive to pronounce (every story about Cuil has to remind you that it’s pronounced “cool”), and because it couldn’t live up to its hyperbolic claims of outperforming Google.

via Switched

 

Company: TrueSAN Networks

Select VC Investors: JT Venture Partners, Spring Creek Partners

Total equity financing raised: $30M

…a turnaround plan that founder and CEO Tom Isakovich presented to its board of directors last week failed to convince the company’s backers to stump up more cash.

via Network Computing

 

Company: Asempra Technologies

Select VC Investors: US Venture Partners, Polaris Partners

Total equity financing raised: $29M

Why did Asempra cease trading – which, by the way, happened so fast its PR agency knew nothing of the asset sale to Bakbone? The probability is that it ran into cash flow problems in the recession and the investing VCaps were reluctant to go through another funding round. Three million dollars does not look like anywhere a worthwhile exit strategy for the three VC firms, not with $29m in the Asempra can, but it is something to pull out of the failed venture.

via The Register

 

Company: Entellium

Select VC Investors: Ignition Partners, Sigma Partners

Total equity financing raised: $28M

Just because you run a private company that does not have to file quarterly financial statements with the SEC does not make it okay to cook your books. The CEO and CFO of Seattle-based CRM firm Entellium found that out the hard way. They were arrested by the FBI earlier this week for inflating their revenues and then lying to their board about it. The company appears to be toast.

via TechCrunch

 

Company: Agillion

Select VC Investors: Matrix Partners India, Nexus Venture Partnerss

Total equity financing raised: $33.5M

Agillion, which offered a Web service that helped businesses maintain vital information about their customers, filed for bankruptcy in July 2001 with about $100 in the bank. Just 15 months before, Agillion had $30 million in the bank, according to the suit.

Between the product launch date, Feb. 23, 2000, and the bankruptcy filing more than a year later, Agillion had only a “few dozen subscribers” to its Web-based service, the suit claims.

“Their revenue was so inconsequential that management never recorded a single dollar in revenue in their internal bookkeeping,” the suit alleges. Despite the poor performance, “Agillion’s management increased their wasteful spending,” the suit states.

via Austin Business Journal

 

Company: Bling Nation

Select VC Investors: Meck and Camp Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $28M

Executives at several banks said that they liked Bling Nation’s business strategy but its service ultimately suffered from a lack of merchant adoption and consumers’ unwillingness to switch from bank-issued debit cards.

via American Banker

 

Company: NebuAd

Select VC Investors: Menlo Ventures and Sierra Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $31.6M

 The company, which has occassionally been described as the ‘US version of Phorm’, has been dying a slow death since US authorities forced the company to abandon its targeting practices with local internet service providers in September.

NebuAd was sued in November 2008 by US web users, who alleged the company violated privacy rights by purchasing information about their web activity from ISPs, using the data to serve targeted ads.

The company was investigated for its targeting practices, which included the purchase of detailed web history from broadband providers, including search queries and browsing habits.

NebuAd argued that it did not know the web users names, phone numbers, home addresses or IP addresses and gave users the option to opt out of the service.

After being grilled in US Congress, NebuAd chief executive and founder Bob Dykes quit the company, shedding a number of staff and its PR firm in his wake, including staff from its offices in the UK.

via Marketing Magazine

 

Company: LV Sensors

Select VC Investors: US Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund

Total equity financing raised: $27M

…the company closed its doors in the spring after failing to raise a new round of capital. . . Though many sectors have been under pressure as venture funding is harder to get than it was a year ago, chip companies have been especially hard hit due to their high capital needs and the many years it can take to move beyond the development stage.

via Wall Street Journal

 

Total Funding: $15M – $25M

 

Company: HomeHero

Select VC Investors: Launch Fund, Tencent Holdings

Total equity financing raised: $22.4M

“Almost exactly one year ago, HomeHero lost its core identity when we were effectively forced to terminate our working relationships with 95% of our 1099 caregivers and required to adopt an inferior employment business model. In the process, HomeHero also lost a majority of its competitive differentiators in price, speed and scalability that allowed us to be so disruptive in 2014 and 2015, and it had nothing to do with competition.”
-Kyle Hill, HomeHero CEO

via Medium

 

Company: Lily Robotics

Select VC Investors: Dorm Room Fund, InnoSpring, Liquid 2 Ventures, Seven Seas Partners

Total equity financing raised: $15M

In the past year, the Lily family has had many ups and downs. We have been delighted by the steady advancements in the quality of our product and have received great feedback from our Beta program. At the same time, we have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds. Over the past few months, we have tried to secure financing in order to unlock our manufacturing line and ship our first units – but have been unable to do this. As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers (details below).

via Lily.Camera

 

Company: Kitchensurfing

Select VC Investors: Spark Capital, Tiger Global Management, Union Square Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $19.5M

The startup had originally allowed customers to book chefs days in advance for at-home dinner parties, but last year moved to an on-demand model. Neither version of the service, though, produced enough demand to be sustainable for a venture-backed business. The company was competing in a crowded market, as better-capitalized companies like Blue Apron and Plated pushed the concept of meal-kit delivery while startups like DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar started delivering meals from popular restaurants that didn’t offer delivery on their own.

via ReCode

 

Company: Maximum Play

Select VC Investors: Technicolor Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $17M

For a variety of reasons, more on the side of the money guys and not because of us, the transaction didn’t go through. At the last minute, they pulled out of their commitments and left us in a very difficult place. We had several groups looking to acquire us, and for a variety of reasons those didn’t pan out.

via Pocket Gamer

 

Company: Take Eat Easy

Select VC Investors: DN Capital, Piton Capital, Rocket Internet

Total equity financing raised: $17.7M

The reasons are that 1) our revenues do not cover our costs, and 2) we are not able to close a third fundraiser ….  In March 2016, after having been rejected by 114 VC funds, we signed a term sheet with a French, state-owned, logistics group, for a 30M euro investment. Unfortunately, after 3 months of intensive due diligence, their board rejected the deal and they ended up withdrawing their offer. We were negotiating with them under an exclusivity agreement, didn’t have a plan B, and only had a couple of weeks of run-way left..

via Medium

 

Company: GigaOm

Select VC Investors: True Ventures, Alloy Venture

Total equity financing raised: $22M

For its eight years of life Gigaom never turned in an annual profit. Many other VC-funded publishers are in a similar position.

via The Guardian

 

Company: Procket Networks

Select VC Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Institutional Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $20M

 Since introducing its products more than a year ago, Procket has only a handful of customers, mostly including universities and small carriers. Its most prominent customer is NTT in Japan, which also uses Cisco and Juniper gear. It has yet to announce a major deal in the North American market.

via CNET

 

Company: Prismatic

Select VC Investors: Accel Partners, Breyer Capital, Battery Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $16.2M

“Four years ago, we set out to build a personalized news reader that would change the way people consume content,” the Prismatic team wrote in a blog post. “For many of you, we did just that. But we also learned content distribution is a tough business and we’ve failed to grow at a rate that justifies continuing to support our Prismatic News products.”

via VentureBeat

 

Company: Daptiv

Select VC Investors: Bay Partners, Kennet Partners

Total equity financing raised: $24.7M

“Everyone thought there was an opportunity to take this company and jump it up, and operate it at a higher level and grow in a different direction,” Franklin said at the time. “We made a good attempt at that and ultimately just weren’t able to raise money around that opportunity.”

via Puget Sound Business Journal

 

Company: RatePoint

Select VC Investors: .406 Ventures, Prism VentureWorks

Total equity financing raised: $24.5M

RatePoint was venture capital funded. According to a press release back in 2009, the company reported at the time that it had “closed a $10 million Series B round of funding led by Castile Ventures of Waltham, Mass., with participation by existing investors .406 Ventures and Prism VentureWorks.” Which goes to show … venture funding is no guarantee of business success.

via Small Business Trends

 

Company: BuyWithMe

Select VC Investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Matrix Partners

Total equity financing raised: $21.5M

“The capital markets willingness to invest in *daily deal* businesses has dried up. Our game plan was to raise a significant amount of capital to push this comprehensive service offering deeply into markets and, as a result, change the basis of competition in the daily deal space. We were a little late.”

via VentureBeat

 

Company: BusRadio

Select VC Investors: Charles River Ventures, Sigma Partners

Total equity financing raised: $20.1M

The FCC study found that BusRadio, the only commercial broadcaster on school buses, had disguised commercial content as editorial and exposed kids to more commercial content than the four-minutes-per-hour limit it promised parents. . . “What happened was they were unable to get into schools because of parental protests at the local level. Without a really large audience, they were unable to attract significant advertisers.”

via Media Life Magazine

 

Company: Monitor110

Select VC Investors: Acadia Woods Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Total equity financing raised: $16M + $3.5M in debt

“We began to raise our next round of funding in May, during one of the most challenging quarters in recent history for VC investments, and despite the progress we have made operationally, we have been unable to secure funding.

As a result, the company has decided to cease operations.”

via Business Insider

 

Company: Atrato

Select VC Investors: Aweida Venture Partners

Total equity financing raised: $18M

A big problem at Atrato has been sales. The boxes simply didn’t sell in large enough numbers. . . The new executives couldn’t turn the company around on their own, and by June of this year, it was looking for new funding and what was called a rebirth. Up to a quarter of its staff were laid off, and the company’s strategy changed so that Atrato focussed more on software than hardware. It also intended to promote OEM sales more.

We understand just 18 employees were left in July 2010.

via The Register

 

Company: Moblyng

Select VC Investors: Deep Fork Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures

Total equity financing raised: $17.4M

“We did not monetize enough to stay in business,” said [Stewart] Putney. . . Putney said the games have gotten traction, but too late. The company launched its HTML5 games on the Facebook HTML5 mobile platform in mid-October, but the audience started growing in December when time and cash had run out.

via VentureBeat

 

Company: Alice.com

Select VC Investors: Kegonsa Capital Partners

Total equity financing raised: $13.9M + $3.4M in debt

Nacho Somalo, Alice.com’s president for the European Market, said that Alice.es closed due to lack of funding opportunities. Alice.com tried to reorganize its structure, and used the few funding yet available in their Spanish subsidiary to help their growth in the US market. But it seems they have not been able to do so.

via BrainSINS

 

Company: LucidEra

Select VC Investors: Benchmark Capital, Matrix Partners

Total equity financing raised: $15.6M

According to Kaplan, a LucidEra representative he spoke with characterized the roots of the company, founded in 2005, as being firmly in the “SaaS 1.0″ era. This group of technology innovators had to “build a lot of their own architecture, delivery capabilities, and software-development resources,” Kaplan explains. Companies starting today can leverage platform-as-a-service capabilities and computing power from vendors such as Salesforce.com and Amazon.com, greatly reducing costly upfront capital investments and ongoing operational expenses. “[LucidEra] got caught with the heavy overhead,” Kaplan says, “and they weren’t going to continue to invest.”

via Destination CRM

 

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Photo credit: Ricky RomeroCreative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic.

  • VCBlogger

    You missed out Aravo Solutions from this list. They have raised 60M in funding and sales are still less than 3M.

  • Matthew Holt

    No Pixelon? List incomplete

  • Pablo

    Cereva Networks. $160M+ in funding when the lights went out.

  • http://www.cbinsights.com/ Anand Sanwal

    Will add this. Thanks for reading.

  • Craig A.

    Without surprise, I note that for over 90% of these companies it is impossible to tell what they did by the name of the company. On the other hand, if you look at the companies in the Fortune 100, you can pretty much figure out what they do – International Business Machines, Standard Oil, etc… seems pretty clear. All those little tech companies that have to spend ten minutes teaching each consumer what it is they do — are swimming against the tide from day one.

  • NoBusinessPlan

    BroadBand Office (1999-2001) funded by KP (iirc before MC were added) should be in the top group.

  • Anonymous

    Everypath. 95M in funding.

  • J. S. Greenfield

    Move Networks failed in business, but succeeded at changing the world. HTTP adaptive streaming, which they pioneered, is now, by far, the dominant paradigm for delivering internet video. All of us who enjoy watching video without constant buffering interruptions owe them a debt of gratitude!

  • MGMallard

    SimonDelivers, funded by Blue Chip and Grotech should be on the list.

  • Ben

    You forgot Govworks, it was also a big flop.

  • Dan

    drkoop.com and 38 Studios are two notable omissions.

  • In San Diego

    Graviton burned $66 million by the time it flopped in 2003

  • jonas

    fab.com is soon to be added

  • Anonymous

    Fisker? $1.5bn from investors, incl. $500mm+ from DOE loan. How is this not on here????

  • Michiel

    Boo.com

    From wiki;

    The company spent $135 million of venture capital in just 18 months,[1]

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  • Anon

    You missed a good one that people rarely talk about – Kestrel Solutions, backed by Carlyle, Fidelity, Credit Suisse First Boston, BankAmerica Ventures and more. My understanding is they blew through over $300M without a product that was fully deployed. One of the biggest flame outs that gets no coverage. Management team was largely incompetent. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB948665381942593554

  • SRM
  • jscowboy

    Spinvox blew through £200m+ and was bought for a few sheckels by Nuance…dodgy as hell

  • jaschwa1969

    I still have an Akimbo coffee mug. In their defense, it is by far the finest swag mug I have ever received ;-) And what about DEN (Digital Entertainment Network)?

  • Brett Murray

    Going back to older school Valley, but folks pre-dot-com would remember Candescent Technologies…an attempt to take back the flat panel display marketing from Asia. I believe they raised $880 million before flaming out due to an inability to mass produce a commercially viable product. And, ya, in my early post-college career I may have spent a few years there. ;-)

    http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1131628

  • http://www.mrpeasy.com Mrpeasy.com Mfg Software

    They are many more to come, especially in FinTech field.

  • Sam Stevens

    Advanced Electron Beams (AEB) should be in the list. There shouldn’t even be a category for under $25MM – that is spare change for many flameouts. I can come up with another 10 above $50MM in losses….

  • Je Suis Parisien

    Komli media has to be in there

  • Kevin Cammack

    Love the list, but definitely overfocuses on software/internet plays and misses a lot of big CapEx heavy failures, near-failures and peristent drain swirlers – e.g. Fiskar, Nanosys, etc.

  • awareinvestor

    You guys forgot Questia with $120MM raised. Huge flop! The bones ended up being acquired for pennies on the dollar.