Except for Taylor Swift, 2017 wasn’t a very good yr for anybody. However the workers and entrepreneurs at these startups had a very tough time. Whereas every firm or gadget had its personal purpose for sunsetting, the next failures tended to end result from one among two issues: On-demand providers had been gradual to show a revenue, and turned out to be actually onerous. However classes had been discovered, property liquidated, and pivots made.
Higher luck subsequent yr, Silicon Valley!
In a yr when many startups went stomach up, Lily Robotics set the tone with its January collapse. Again in Might 2015, Lily’s product debut video went viral after displaying a drone with 4 propellers that would autonomously comply with individuals as they snowboarded or kayaked, taking off straight from the water or touchdown in customers’ fingers. The issue? Most of it was faked. The San Francisco District Legal professional’s workplace filed a civil go well with in January and alleged that the corporate had used GoPros and different skilled drones to movie their launch video and led viewers to suppose that the crisp photographs had been from Lily’s flagship gadget. Lily, which raised greater than $15 million in enterprise capital funding and $34 million in preorders, would go on to declare chapter and promised that it will refund prospects who had paid prematurely. However some individuals are nonetheless ready.
HomeHero, based in 2013, supplied nonmedical caregiving to seniors. It was one among a handful of senior care startups, together with Honor and HomeTeam, and one among many startups that relied on on-demand labor from impartial contractors (often known as 1099 employees) versus on-staff “W-2” workers. However in February, HomeHero shut down after elevating $23 million. CEO Kyle Hill blamed a federal ruling that mandated dwelling care employees needed to be handled as W-2 workers with advantages — what Hill known as “an inferior employment enterprise mannequin.”
Tech can disrupt every thing, even the used automotive market! Or no less than that was the pondering when buyers poured cash into a number of startups, together with Shift, Carvana, Vroom, and Beepi. These on-line peer-to-peer marketplaces had been meant to take away the middlemen and brick-and-mortar prices related to automotive dealerships, connecting individuals inside their communities to purchase and promote vehicles. The issue is it was an costly train, with Beepi, which was based in 2013, burning via greater than $150 million in funding cash (generally on boneheaded offers like this one, the place it misplaced $29,500 on the sale of a single automotive). After failing to promote its property, it ended all operations in February.
The web is usually a fickle factor. In the future you’re the most popular social app. The subsequent, you’re lifeless within the water. That’s what occurred to Yik Yak, the nameless social platform that turned common on center and highschool campuses and was banned in some instances for its function in cyberbullying. None of that mattered to enterprise capital corporations like Sequoia Capital, which dumped greater than $70 million into the corporate after it was based in 2013. Yik Yak shut down in Might following months of falling engagement numbers, and offered a few of its property to the monetary know-how firm Sq..
It wasn’t way back that on-demand meals supply startups had been elevating a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of from return-hungry buyers. However prospects appear to be dropping their appetites. Maple, which launched in New York in 2015, and Sprig, a San Francisco–primarily based gourmet-meal service that began in 2013, each shut down inside weeks of one another in Might. One obvious purpose: Making meals from scratch and delivering it, in comparison with simply finishing up orders from established eating places, is dear.
Goodbye, Whats up. Regardless of $40 million in funding and a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign, the sleep-tracking gadget firm nonetheless discovered its method into the 2017 startup graveyard. It launched in July 2014 with loads of fanfare by its founder and CEO, James Proud, a former Thiel Fellow. However Whats up and its authentic product, Sense, had been suffering from lukewarm opinions and an absence of shopper demand. The fantastically designed orb, which sat on a bedside desk and tracked its consumer’s sleep patterns, offered poorly, forcing Proud to place the corporate to mattress.
On the top of the wearable electronics craze, Jawbone, the maker of headphones and fitness-tracking bands that was based in 1999, was valued at a whopping $three billion. How occasions have modified. In July, following months of economic struggles and rounds of litigation with rival Fitbit, the startup started liquidating its property. Cofounder and CEO Hosain Rahman is reportedly pivoting into a brand new endeavor, Jawbone Well being Hub, that might make health-related and provide software program providers.
Silicon Valley didn’t deserve the story of Juicero. The previous founding father of a bankrupt natural chain unveiled a $699 WiFi-connected juice machine in March 2016, raised $134 million from a few of the tech trade’s most storied buyers, after which promptly shut down after a information outlet decided that its gadget achieves the very same finish as a pair of human fingers. In a yr when a president ascended to the White Home by railing towards coastal elites, Juicero was Silicon Valley schadenfreude made all of the extra lovely by founder Doug Evans posting movies from Burning Man as the corporate shut down in September. Extra lately, Juicero’s Twitter account was taken over by what appears to be an avid sports activities fan.
Discovering a parking spot is usually a soul-crushing endeavor in a metropolis, particularly if that metropolis occurs to be San Francisco. Naturally this was the birthplace in 2013 of Luxe, which allow you to smartphone-summon a blue-jacketed stranger to scooter up and park your automotive till you wanted it. This concept raised $75 million, however it wasn’t sufficient. It stopped doing door-to-door valet service within the spring after which offered to Volvo in September.
A yr in the past, New Yorkers had been lining up for blocks to get their fingers on a pair of Snap Spectacles. They had been video-recording sun shades, however not like Google Glass, they had been positively going to be a factor. (Narrator: They weren’t.) As Snap struggled with a lackluster IPO, it reported in November that underwhelming buyer curiosity led it to lose $40 million on the gadget. The corporate now has a whole lot of hundreds of unsold Spectacles.
Doppler Labs cofounder and CEO Noah Kraft appeared to have every thing going for him — apart from monetary viability. With loads of media appearances and a spot on Forbes’ 30 Below 30 listing in 2016, Kraft leveraged the eye to boost greater than $50 million for a corporation that promised to make wi-fi headphones that might be managed by way of smartphone. Sadly, the product, Right here One, hit growth and manufacturing delays and was unable to beat Apple’s AirPods to market, dooming it as a competitor to the electronics powerhouse. “We thought we had been the shit,” Kraft advised Wired lately in asserting his firm’s shutdown.
In 2017, it appeared like there was an announcement each different week that AIM — that hallowed place of emo standing updates, BRB away messages, and teenage flirting — could be shutting down perpetually. On Dec. 15, that lastly occurred, ending the 20-year-old on-line communication service that had about 100 million customers at its peak in 2001. It was a tragic day for these writers, as soon as recognized on AIM as azninvasion828 and ssmiling88. Pour one out for AIM.
Since 2010, journalists and storytellers used Storify to place tweets, Fb posts, and different social media content material into a pleasant, neat chronological timeline that advised a narrative. However earlier this month, Storify introduced that its personal timeline was, in a way, coming to an finish.
Stephanie Lee is a senior know-how reporter for BuzzFeed Information and relies in San Francisco.
Contact Stephanie M. Lee at [email protected]
Ryan Mac is a senior know-how reporter for BuzzFeed Information and relies in San Francisco. He studies on the intersection of cash, know-how and energy.
Contact Ryan Mac at [email protected]
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