Failed ventures July 2017 : RIP Startups that didn’t make it

Failure, they say, is the stepping stone to success. In this blog, we review some of the startups that pulled the plug in July 2017.

The Get fit startup, pactapp sent its paid members the following announcement indicating it shut its service in July 2017. Its social media accounts including the blog hadn’t been updated for over a year.


  • Khosla-backed fitness startup Pact shuts down – Pact, the startup that incentivized users to healthy behaviors by getting them to essentially bet money on their own adherence, has shut down, according to an email the company sent out to its users on Friday. The company will pay out its final rewards to users on July 11th and will continue supporting users until the end of August.
  • Sharing economy fail: Customers keep nearly all 300,000 of Chinese startup’s umbrellas for rent – This week we came across a story of a Chinese umbrella-sharing startup loosing most of its initial 300,000 umbrellas. The news first appeared in the website on Thursday and quickly went viral and was picked up by many other news outlets. Entrepreneurs should do homework and market research before starting a new venture. Sharing economy may not be for all communities and all services.
  • Phhhoto shutters app and pivots to photobooths, blaming Instagram –  Animated GIF capture tool and social network Phhhoto is shutting down its app due to server costs becoming unsustainable after getting slammed with competition by Instagram’s copycat Boomerang. Phhhoto will pivot to focus on its parent company HYPNO’s original business — physical photobooths for events.
  • Ambitious augmented reality startup CastAR reportedly shuts down – Four-year-old augmented reality company CastAR has reportedly shut down. According to Polygon, which spoke to former employees, the company was unable to get more funding from either its present backer or any new companies. It reportedly laid off nearly its entire staff yesterday, leaving a core team behind to seek a buyer for its AR tech. We’ve reached out to CastAR to confirm the reports.
  • Jawbone Failed, But Its Founder Remains Determined – Jawbone is liquidating itself and Founder and CEO Hosain Rahman is moving to a new company he started called Jawbone Health, according to The Information. The demise of a company as high-profile, well-funded, and beloved by the Silicon Valley cognoscenti as Jawbone will launch a thousand thinkpieces. Lucky for me, I wrote mine a year ago, when Jawbone’s struggles were already widely apparent.
  • No recycling here: Delhi based startup Surpluss shuts shop – Delhi based online retail store for refurbished electronics – Surpluss has shut shop owing to internal business issues aggravated by demonetization.Founded in 2014, Surpluss sold refurbished and surplus products ranging from mobile phones and tablets to fashion apparel. The website’s holding company – Pluss Digital Ventures Private Limited, had directors such as SN Rai, cofounder of Lava Mobiles, Amit Gupta, former director Channel Strategies at Samsung India and HS Bhatia, founder of Green Lava, a battery rejuvenation business. “We had a B2C inventory model and the cost of running it was very high,” HS Bhatia, managing director of Surpluss confirmed to Moneycontrol. The company was selling refurbished products from brands such as Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, OnePlus, HTC, Alcatel, and Xolo. A vendor to Surpluss who still owes dues confirmed to Moneycontrol that the company shut down operations in April, this year. The company’s website is also down.
  • Vertu is dead – It’s been a long, downward slide for cellphone maker Vertu. The company, founded by Nokia in 1998, was supposed to be a luxury phone provider to the stars and, to a degree, it delivered. They sold the $11,000 phones like expensive watches in boutique stores in tony neighborhoods. Vertu, with its precious metals and fine, hand-cut leather was supposed to maintain its luxury lead for decades.
  • Matrix-backed fintech startup Finomena shuts shop due to fund crunch – The Bangalore-based startup, which was launched in 2015, terminated operations in May, this year after it failed to raise series-A funding, several sources confirmed. The Bangalore-based startup, which was launched in 2015, terminated operations in May, this year after it failed to raise series-A funding, several sources confirmed. The company’s website no more allows a new user to register, and its blog has also been suspended since March.
  • On-demand delivery startup Jinn pulls out of ‘other markets outside London’ – Jinn, the U.K. same-hour ‘shop on your behalf’ delivery app, has pulled out of all markets outside London, TechCrunch has learned. According to sources, the startup shut down operations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds as of yesterday, whilst I understand the Spanish team may have been let go, too. The “pausing” of operations — startup speak for withdrawing from a market — offers an interesting counterpoint to what Navarro told TechCrunch in May when the company raised $10 million in further funding, capital it planned to use to continue to grow and “consolidate its presence in its main markets”. As of today, those main markets have shrunk considerably.
  • Shared capsule bed service suspended over safety issues –  Shared capsule beds for napping, the latest novelty in China’s sharing economy, have been temporarily shut down over safety concerns, just over one month after their launch. According to Beijing police, a total of 16 napping pods in the city’s office buildings have suspended operations after it surfaced that “the capsules may become a shelter for criminals because users don’t need to check in with their ID cards”. In addition, the confined space may pose a fire risk, they said.

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