With the exception of Taylor Swift, 2017 wasn’t a not bad year for anyone. yet the employees in addition to also entrepreneurs at these startups had a particularly rough time. While each company or gadget had its own reason for sunsetting, the following failures tended to result through one of two problems: On-demand services were slow to turn a profit, in addition to also hardware turned out to be actually hard. yet lessons were learned, assets liquidated, in addition to also pivots made.
Better luck next year, Silicon Valley!
In a year when many startups went belly up, Lily Robotics set the tone with its January collapse. Back in May 2015, Lily’s product debut video went viral after showing a drone with four propellers of which could autonomously follow people as they snowboarded or kayaked, taking off straight through the water or landing in users’ hands. The problem? Most of of which was faked. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office filed a civil suit in January in addition to also alleged of which the company had used GoPros in addition to also additional professional drones to film their launch video in addition to also led viewers to think of which the crisp images were through Lily’s flagship device. Lily, which raised more than $15 million in venture capital funding in addition to also $34 million in pre-orders, could go on to declare bankruptcy in addition to also promised of which of which could refund customers who had paid in advance. yet some people are still waiting.
HomeHero, founded in 2013, provided non-medical caregiving to seniors. of which was one of a handful of senior care startups, including Honor in addition to also HomeTeam, in addition to also one of many startups of which relied on on-demand labor through independent contractors (also known as 1099 workers) versus on-staff “W-2” employees. yet in February, HomeHero shut down after raising $23 million. CEO Kyle Hill blamed a federal ruling of which mandated home care workers had to be treated as W-2 employees with benefits — what Hill called “an inferior employment business product.”
Tech can disrupt everything, even the used car market! Or at least of which was the thinking when investors poured money into a host of startups including Shift, Carvana, Vroom, in addition to also Beepi. These online peer-to-peer marketplaces were intended to remove the middlemen in addition to also brick-in addition to also-mortar costs associated with car dealerships, connecting people within their communities to buy in addition to also sell automobiles. The problem is usually of which was an expensive exercise, with Beepi, which was founded in 2013, burning through more than $150 million in investment money (sometimes on boneheaded deals like of which one, where of which lost $29,500 on the sale of 1 car). After failing to sell its assets, of which ended all operations in February.
The Internet can be a fickle thing. One day you’re the hottest social app. The next, you’re dead inside water. of which’s what happened to Yik Yak, the anonymous social platform of which became common on middle in addition to also high school campuses in addition to also was banned in some cases for its role in cyberbullying. None of of which mattered to venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital, which dumped more than $70 million into the company after of which was founded in 2013. Yik Yak shut down in May following months of falling engagement numbers, in addition to also sold some of its assets to the financial technology company Square.
of which wasn’t long ago of which on-demand food delivery startups were raising hundreds of millions of dollars through return-hungry investors. yet customers seem to be losing their appetites. Maple, which launched in fresh York in 2015, in addition to also Sprig, a San Francisco–based gourmet-meal service of which commenced in 2013, both shut down within weeks of each additional in May. One apparent reason: producing food through scratch in addition to also delivering of which, compared to just carrying out orders through established restaurants, is usually expensive.
Goodbye Hello. In spite of $40 million in funding in addition to also a successful Kickstarter campaign, the sleep-tracking device company still found its way into the 2017 startup graveyard. of which launched in July 2014 with plenty of fanfare by its founder in addition to also CEO James Proud, a former Thiel Fellow. yet Hello in addition to also its original product, Sense, were plagued by lukewarm reviews in addition to also a lack of consumer demand. The beautifully designed orb, which sat on a bedside table in addition to also tracked its user’s sleep patterns, sold poorly, forcing Proud to put the company to bed.
At the height of the wearable electronics craze, Jawbone, the maker of headphones in addition to also fitness-tracking bands of which was founded in 1999, was valued at a whopping $3 billion. How times have changed. In July, following months of financial struggles in addition to also rounds of litigation with rival Fitbit, the startup began liquidating its assets. Cofounder in addition to also CEO Hosain Rahman is usually reportedly pivoting into a fresh endeavor, Jawbone Health Hub, of which could make health-related hardware in addition to also offer software services.
Silicon Valley did not deserve the story of Juicero. The former founder of a bankrupt organic chain unveiled a $699 WiFi-connected juice machine in March 2016, raised $134 million through some of the tech industry’s most storied investors, in addition to also then promptly shut down after a news outlet determined of which its device achieves the exact same end as a pair of human hands. In a year when a president ascended to the White House by railing against coastal elites, Juicero was Silicon Valley schadenfreude made all the more beautiful by founder Doug Evans posting videos through Burning Man as the company shut down in September. More recently, Juicero’s Twitter account was taken over by what seems to be an avid sports fan.
Finding a parking spot can be a soul-crushing endeavor in a city, especially if of which city happens to be San Francisco. Naturally of which was the birthplace in 2013 of Luxe, which let you smartphone-summon a blue-jacketed stranger to scooter up in addition to also park your car until you needed of which. of which idea raised $75 million, yet of which wasn’t enough. of which stopped doing door-to-door valet service inside spring in addition to also then sold to Volvo in September.
A year ago, fresh Yorkers were lining up for blocks to get their hands on a pair of Snap Spectacles. They were video-recording sunglasses, yet unlike Google Glass, they were definitely going to be a thing. (Narrator: they weren’t.) As Snap struggled that has a lackluster IPO, of which reported in November of which underwhelming customer interest led of which to lose $40 million on the device. The company right now has hundreds of thousands of unsold Spectacles.
Doppler Labs cofounder in addition to also CEO Noah Kraft seemed to have everything going for him — except for financial viability. With plenty of media appearances in addition to also a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2016, Kraft leveraged the attention to raise more than $50 million for a company of which promised to make wireless headphones the could be controlled via smartphone. Unfortunately, the product, Here One, hit development in addition to also manufacturing delays in addition to also was unable to beat Apple’s AirPods to market, dooming of which as a competitor to the electronics powerhouse. “We thought we were the shit,” Kraft told Wired recently in announcing his company’s shutdown.
In 2017 of which seemed like there was an announcement every additional week of which AIM — of which hallowed place of emo status updates, BRB away messages, in addition to also teenage flirting — could be shutting down forever. On Dec. 15, of which finally happened, ending the 20-year-old online communication service of which had about 100 million users at its peak in 2001. of which was a sad day for these writers, once known on AIM as azninvasion828 in addition to also ssmiling88. Pour one out for AIM.
Since 2010, journalists in addition to also storytellers used Storify to put tweets, Facebook posts, in addition to also additional social media content into a nice, neat chronological timeline of which told a story. yet earlier of which month, Storify announced of which its own timeline was, in a sense, coming to an end.
Stephanie Lee is usually a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News in addition to also is usually based in San Francisco.
Contact Stephanie M. Lee at email@example.com.
Ryan Mac is usually a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News in addition to also is usually based in San Francisco. He reports on the intersection of money, technology in addition to also power.
Contact Ryan Mac at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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