RethinkDB – Database scalabile per il web in tempo reale

RethinkDB – Database scalabile per il web in tempo reale

RethinkDB

Scalable database for the real-time web

General Information
Category
Software and Hardware
Country
United States
Started
In 2009
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2016
Cause of Failure
Bad Market Fit
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Two
Name of Founders
Michael Glukhovsky, Slava Akhmechet
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
4
Total Funding Amount
$12.2M
Number of Investors
16
Description

RethinkDB was an open-source database, the first of its kind that makes use of a distributed and scalable NoSQL database. RethinkDB was built from its inception for real-time web applications. It provided solutions to make processes faster and more reliable such as using live push updates instead of the traditional and slower polling for data in queries.

Cause of Failure

RethinkDB founder
highlighted in a postmortem some of the reasons for which he believed his
company failed to thrive despite that fact that they had a good product.

Choosing the ‘wrong market’
was mentioned as one of their major mistakes. Since the beginning they were
taken by their clients as being an open-source tool and pretty much no one
wanted to pay for it. If a substantial price barrier would have been put, users
would have probably searched for another tool in the ocean of free and open
source tools that other developers make available. Another major blunder was
that despite they focused on seemingly important metrics, these weren’t the
metrics users and clients were primarily interested in. Their ‘metrics of
goodness’ according to the startup were releasing a flawless product (and yet
their successful competitors at MongoDB became very popular even though they
had an initial buggy product), design a simple interface, and database
consistency. On the other hand, customers wanted the products to be available
as soon as possible (they had to wait almost 3 years for RethinkDB), speedy
performance, and a good and tried way to store JSON documents and create
reports.

Fortunately, enough,
RethinkDB technology won’t fall into oblivion as it has been acquired a couple
of months after its 2016 shutdown by the Linux Foundation (CNFC).

Go on Reading

Gowalla – Guida sociale per le città del mondo

Gowalla – Guida sociale per le città del mondo

Gowalla

Social Guide to world’s cities

General Information
Category
Social Media
Country
United States
Started
In 2007
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2013
Cause of Failure
Competition
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Two
Name of Founders
Josh Williams, Scott Raymond
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
3
Total Funding Amount
$10.4M
Number of Investors
11
Description

Gowalla was a location-based social platform website and app that allowed users to check-in and share with others their location. It was launched in 2007 and had as a major competitor Foursquare, also a location-based app. The latter, however, has had way more success and currently boasts a user base of 45 million people while Gowalla shut down in 2012 as it reached 600,000 users.

Gowalla’s main feature was the check-in option for its users when they were close to certain “Spots”. The platform also gamified and encouraged users to actively share their location. Users could achieve a higher role and gain access to certain features if they demonstrated a high level of engagement with the app and sometimes received “items” that were provided by partner companies as promotional tools.

Cause of Failure

When the Gowalla team realized that their competitors in the
check-in service were far ahead of them, it reinvents itself and tried to come
up with a different design which was to support the newfound focus as a
traveling and storytelling platform.

The main problem with Gowalla seemed to be that it tried to do
and be too many things at once, whereas Foursquare, for one, focused on one or
two basic services that users would infallibly go back to.

Gowalla had a better design
and was aesthetically more pleasing, and yet FSQ, which launched in the densely
populated New York, saw a rapid growth because users recommend it to their
friends for the check-in and rewards features it offered and received social
validation for using it, since ‘everyone’ was using it.

Funding was also probably
not the main problem for the startup as Gowalla raised 3M in investments and
partnered with giants such as Disney, National Geographic, and several major
U.S. Universities.

Gowalla’s team joined
Facebook in December 2011. Facebook claimed that it acquired the app but that
it wouldn’t make use of the user data that it had generated over the years. FB
representatives stated that they were rather more interested in partnering with
the developers that brought forward the startup since they shared similar
values and vision and could help enhance certain aspects of FB’s platform.

Go on Reading

Turntable.fm – Piattaforma interattiva online per DJ e ascoltatori

Turntable.fm – Piattaforma interattiva online per DJ e ascoltatori

Turntable.fm

Online interactive platform for DJs and listeners

General Information
Category
Music
Country
United States
Started
In 2011
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down
Closed
By 2013
Cause of Failure
Bad Business Model
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
One
Name of Founders
Billy Chasen
Number of Employees
Between 1 And 10
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
$7M
Number of Investors
10
Description

Turntable.fm was an online interactive platform on which DJ, fans and casual listeners were brought together. People could choose avatars for themselves, browse different music rooms and create a playlist.

Cause of Failure

The
company shut down its services two and half years after its promising launch in
order to conserve its remaining venture capital to focus on the live version of
their startup. The cost of running this music service proved to be too
expensive and was not financially viable for them. Turntable.fm decided to play
licensed music which proved to have drained their time and capital. Although
the platform originally raised $7.5 million as soon as they started to
expand internationally things got out of hand. They also weren’t fast enough to
adapt to the new mobile era.

Go on Reading

Sidecar – Rete di trasporto di consegna B2B fornita

Sidecar – Rete di trasporto di consegna B2B fornita

Sidecar

Provided B2B delivery transportation network

General Information
Category
Transportation
Country
United States
Started
In 2011
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2015
Cause of Failure
Competition
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Two
Name of Founders
Jahan Khanna, Sunil Paul
Number of Employees
Between 51 And 100
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
5
Total Funding Amount
$45.5M
Number of Investors
21
Description

Sidecar was a transportation company based in united states (US). It was founded a couple of years after Uber but was never able to catch up with it despite the fact that it had a good product built on solid technology. One of the features Sidecar introduced was that of enabling riders to set their own price. In general, the app of the company offered much more control over their riding experience both for drivers and riders.

Cause of Failure

Sidecar had the
top-notch technology but no marketing strategy. Car-hailing services depend on
the traction present in the market and the network of drivers and passengers
that they build. Sidecar could only become useful – and profitable – if there
was always a high density of drivers and users. This is mainly where Sidecar
failed. Unlike their giant competitors (Uber and Lyft) they didn’t invest
enough to market their product and gain customers. Uber reportedly lost almost
a million in its first 6 months while it heavily focused on acquiring
customers. Sidecar didn’t have the backup funding to do that on a similar
scale.

Also,
instead of focusing on its powerful technology and the empowerment their app
gave to its users, they tried to place themselves as an affordable alternative
to Uber, which didn’t really work for them. Weeks after shutting down on
December 2015, though, they were acquired by GM.

Go on Reading

Kiko – Applicazione di calendario online in stile Ajax

Kiko – Applicazione di calendario online in stile Ajax

Kiko

Ajax-style online calendar application

General Information
Category
Productivity
Country
United States
Started
In 2003
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Acquired
Closed
By 2008
Cause of Failure
Bad Management
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Two
Name of Founders
Emmett Shear, Justin Kan
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
$50K
Number of Investors
1
Description

Kiko was an Ajax-style online calendar application that offered advanced features that included API integration with other websites and applications on the Internet. The app was particularly helpful to business professionals, event organizers, etc. One of the best features of the Kiko calendar app was that it had a user-friendly UI and it was possible to access one’s calendar from other computers with it. Kiko granted users the ability to invite and share calendars and events with anyone.

Cause of Failure

Kiko lasted for just three years.
The founders have moved to work on other projects, but they explained the
reasons for their startup’s failure in a post.

The first reason according
to one of the founders was that their team had wanted to work on various ideas
and plans at the same time, this diverted their attention from their main
project and ended up creating delays. The CEO admitted that they were too slow
at times and wasted time on unnecessary things and neglected other matter that was
instead crucial. To make it worse, they hired a wrong team member which
affected the company’s productivity as he didn’t complete any task and
disappeared for months. Failure to involve investors and seek their guidance
from the beginning was also another blunder.

The software that powered
Kiko was put for sale on eBay and it was bought for $258,100 in an auction.

Go on Reading

Il mio spazio – Social network basato su pagine utente personali

Il mio spazio – Social network basato su pagine utente personali

MySpace

Social network based on personal user pages

General Information
Category
Social Media
Country
United States
Started
In 2003
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Still Active
Closed
Active
Cause of Failure
Multiple Reasons
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Seven
Name of Founders
Aber Whitcomb, Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, Josh Berman, Michael Addicott, Tom Anderson
Number of Employees
Between 251 And 500
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
$37.8M
Number of Investors
2
Description

MySpace was originally launched as a side project. Started as a spin-off of Friendster, it grew rapidly to become the most popular social networking site before Facebook entered the scene. It gained 1 million users in about one month after it was officially launched in 2004 and by 2005 it had 20 million registered users. Upon registration on the site, users were given profile pages they could personalize, write posts or blogs, connect with others through comments or messages, share art, stream their own music or that of their favorite artists. The platform principally made profits by serving ads to its users which reached about 76 million in 2008.

Cause of Failure

MySpace was founded by people in the industry and marketing sector and their perspective of the platform was since the beginning very different from that of Facebook, which nevertheless became its primary competitor. MySpace tried first to ignore Facebook, then to copy it and lastly decided to repurpose itself as a platform for artist and musicians.

There are several reasons why it’s thought that MySpace lost to Facebook. Starting from its poorly organized interface to the often-faulty technology and applications on the site, it was clear that although MySpace had a superb marketing strategy, from the technical side they were way behind other platforms. They later tried to remedy these problems by offering a cleaner design and allowing third-party companies to provide applications for the site.

Since MySpace revenue source was ads serving, it was pressured by investors and partners into taking an aggressive ad publishing strategy, which made their pages even less attractive to users.

In 2010, it’s estimated that 50% of MySpaces users simply left and discontinued their use of the site and that continued as the once popular site kept changing ownership and direction every few years.

Besides buggy technology and poor management, the company also faced public image issues when the site started being associated with dubious or even scandalous figures thus alarming parents and earning MySpace negative press coverage. This only accelerated users flock to other platforms such as FB that offered the additional incentive of providing users with news and interactions related to their real-life friends as opposed to anonymous people.

MySpace is currently active and receives an estimated 15 million visitors per month as of 2016 (for comparison, Facebook has 2.07 billion monthly active users), currently has 53 million songs on the platform and an average of 13 thousand songs uploaded every day on the platform.

Go on Reading

Netscape – Soluzioni software aziendali sviluppate

Netscape – Soluzioni software aziendali sviluppate

Netscape

Developed enterprise software solutions

General Information
Category
Productivity
Country
United States
Started
In 1994
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down
Closed
By 2008
Cause of Failure
Poor Product
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Three
Name of Founders
James Clark, Jon Mittelhauser, Marc Andreessen
Number of Employees
Between 5001 And 10000
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
No Data
Number of Investors
1
Description

Netscape, or more precisely, Netscape Navigator, was one of the most significant internet applications in the history of the web. It was launched by Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark. Having built a highly innovative product and having no real competition back in 1995, the company was evaluated at $3 billion since the first day it went public and would go on to become one of the backbones to the Mozilla project.

Cause of Failure

Despite its early
success, Netscape had no real chance to beat Microsoft who released IE 1.0 soon
after Netscape and continued on improve on it until they finally took over
Netscape and were able to offer a consistently better product than their
counterpart.

Netscape
eventually becomes obsolete for the most part but was, however, acquired by AOL
in November 1998 for $4.2 billion. After the hire, the company tried again to
release upgraded versions of the browser but the battle seemed to have already
been won by Microsoft. Netscape finally decided to outsource their code which
would later give rise to Firefox. AOL finally shut down Netscape in 2008.

Go on Reading

ArsDigita – Agenzia che ha creato soluzioni per l'e-commerce

ArsDigita – Agenzia che ha creato soluzioni per l'e-commerce

ArsDigita

Agency that built solutions for e-commerce

General Information
Category
e-Commerce
Country
United States
Started
In 1997
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down
Closed
By 2002
Cause of Failure
Lack of Experience
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Seven
Name of Founders
Philip Greenspun, Tracy Adams, Ben Adida, Eve Andersson, Olin Shivers, Aurelius Prochazka, Jin Choi
Number of Employees
Between 51 And 100
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
$35M
Number of Investors
3
Description

ArsDigita was a Massachusetts based Web Development Company established in 1997. Its fundamental product was an open source toolbox called the ArsDigita Community System (ACS) that aimed to help support entrepreneurs who had an online business with their group sites by introducing the ArsDigita database. The database would prompt smooth exchanges processing, with consistent work process in every aspect of the E-organizations. The positive development of ArsDigita prompted the formation of the ArsDigita Foundation, that awarded ArsDigita prize yearly to secondary school students. The foundation also supported post-high school students to undertake a one-year software engineering course at an undergraduate level.

Cause of Failure

Following three years of successful business, ArsDigita began encountering a descending pattern in April 2000. Their decline was ascribed to the procuring of an inexperienced external CEO and the enablement of more power to the financial supporters of the startup. The new group of leaders utilized twofold the speculation beforehand, declined a lucrative offer by Microsoft that could set the organization upon an upward trajectory, and disliked the key organization item, ACS, even though it had repeatedly been used to take care of genuine business issues and made the organization one of a kind and effective.

To exacerbate the situation, they supplanted the ACS with another, mostly closed-source programming bundle that was difficult to utilize, had genuine execution issues and met just a little part of the business needs. Also, they fundamentally expanded the cost of the task by multiplying the number of representatives and making new, generously compensated official positions. The new administration likewise misused the funding. The situation kept on deteriorating until the company finally shut shop in April of 2001.

Go on Reading

Poliana – Applicazione Web che ha semplificato il sistema legislativo

Poliana – Applicazione Web che ha semplificato il sistema legislativo

Poliana

Web application that simplified the legislative system

General Information
Category
Analytics
Country
United States
Started
In 2013
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down
Closed
By 2015
Cause of Failure
Bad Business Model
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Four
Name of Founders
Grayson Carroll, Patrick Cason, Seth Whiting, Shawn Whiting
Number of Employees
Between 1 And 10
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
1
Total Funding Amount
$15K
Number of Investors
2
Description

Poliana established with an aim of bringing order to the chaos in the political system of the United States of America. It initially tried to do that by providing a gateway for communication between politicians and their citizens. After the pivot, they started creating and designing data visualization tool using their data set for institutions like schools. Also, they created a paid access terminal that assisted people to make their own data visualization. Poliana also tried to sell information and data visualization to media groups in small and large scale depending on their audience. In particular, they collected data on who exactly funded politicians so as to create transparency and a better understanding of who’s agenda a particular politician was trying to implement since there was a high correlation between the source of the funding politicians receive and the bills they would pass (or prevent from passing).

Cause of Failure

Poliana had low market demand and ran out of finances even though they tried to implement three different business models with schools, news agencies and the public at large.

The idea of creating a data visualization tool for school and university students did not work. To penetrate in the schools required strong connection to the school administrators, which the company did not have. It was difficult to make money from projects that were meant to be free to the public. There was no demand for viewing graphs which the public had to pay for first. Poliana allowed the public to see the graphs, but to make their own data they had to pay via SaaS model thus incurring expensive charges. Poliana also attempts with local news media were unsuccessful as they had little interest in what the company offered while middle news media were interested but lacked the budget for visualization data technology. International and national media had their own set of experts and data hence the information offered by the company was irrelevant.

There was a fourth profit model that was suggested by many users but which Poliana decided not to pursue. The model involved selling visualization data and information to politicians. The Poliana team argued that the model might compromise their ethics and go against their very principles when they started the project hence they refrained from creating it. Poliana decided to share their code and open source it in its entirety and suspended their operations in 2015.

Go on Reading

Yik Yak – Social network anonimo basato sulla posizione

Yik Yak – Social network anonimo basato sulla posizione

Yik Yak

Anonymous location-based social network

General Information
Category
Social Media
Country
United States
Started
In 2013
Business Failure
Business Outcome
Shut Down
Closed
By 2017
Cause of Failure
Legal Challenges
Founders & Employees
Number of Founders
Three
Name of Founders
Brooks Buffington, Tyler Droll, Will Jamieson
Number of Employees
Between 11 And 50
Funding
Number of Funding Rounds
3
Total Funding Amount
$73.5M
Number of Investors
11
Description

Yik Yak was a social app for iOS and Android that allowed users to create and share posts anonymously with anyone who was within a 5-mile radius. Users within the range could also view, Upvote or Downvote content anonymously. The app was particularly trending in schools and campuses, often used for gossiping and sharing last-minute events or updates. Posts on the app were called ‘Yaks’, and users had a ‘Yakarma’- a score which measured their popularity based on the number of likes and dislikes that their posts received. Post that received five downvotes were deleted from the feed. Photos, after being moderated, could also be shared.

Cause of Failure

One of the main reasons
that pushed the founders of Yik Yak to discontinue the application seems to be
the frequent complaints about cyberbullying and harassment perpetrated through
the app. Parents, feminist groups, and victims of harassments, in particular,
requested schools and campuses to block the app.

Eventually, Yik Yak
developers used geo-fences to block the use of the app in schools and high
schools. Moreover, in an attempt to reduce the feeling of anonymity and
increase accountability for the posts shared, the app tried to enforce a handle
with which to identify its users. This new update only caused the number of
users to decrease, and the feature was made optional.

Some argued that any
platform that grants anonymity could potentially be at risk of becoming a hub
for hate speech and harassment, and yet few of them actually see the prevalence
of that type of behavior. The issue with Yik Yak seemed to be the fact that it
was a social app based on proximity.
This means that victims of any type of attack had the certainty that whoever
wrote the threatening posts was physically close to them, increasing their
anxiety and feeling of endangerment.

Another concern emerged
when a team of researchers demonstrated that a Yik Yak user could be identified
if it shared the same WiFi network of the potential attacker.

The attempted enforcement
of handles, the removal of certain features, the wide coverage of news media of
cyberbullying that took place through the app, security concerns, and the fact
that the app stopped being relevant outside of campuses, all these factors
slowly led to the decline in the use of the application and its inevitable shut
down.

Go on Reading