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Early stage Indian startups that shut down in 2014

Jubin Mehta
posted on 23rd December 2014
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Success stories are important but there are always many failures which build towards that success. It is important to talk about these failures. Sharing these stories helps others learn and avoid repeating mistakes. It also makes the environment more real. And this is especially true in the space of startups. More than 80% startups die within the first three years of starting but we hardly hear about them. We, at YourStory, want to talk about these stories.

Anand Satyan, founder of Boutline recently shared his failure story with DeliverWithMe, we earlier carried a short failure series as well and there have been multiple examples of transparency but we need more of it. And that is what we intend to with this post, we want more people to talk about failures. What worked, what didn't, lessons from your journey. There have been some startup shut downs like Wishberg, Chhotu, etc which have been in the news but here, we asked people to share their failure stories by filling this form.

The most common reason for failures among our respondents was the lack of a cohesive team, or differences with co-founders. Other shut down because they were unable to raise funds or utilise funds raised effectively. Some founders said unfamiliarity with the business in which they were operating led to the shutdown. Interestingly, more than half the founders have opted out of entrepreneurship and have taken up jobs in companies.

We, at YourStory are thankful to each one of the storytellers here, for being generous enough to stand up and  tell us where and why they failed!

The response has been majorly from the very early stage startups and it gives an interesting perspective to startup failures. Here's what you had to say;

(update: couple of companies have been removed on request)

1) Name – Shubhamilana.com

Founder – Channaia

Shubhamilana was a Matrimonial Site. Lack of technology support according to them was the key reason for their failure.

Current Status – Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder - Find a very good cofounder who can bring technology expertise.

3) Name – Pirate’s Kitchen

Founder – Gaurav

Pirate's kitchen was a theme based find dine restaurant. The team was not able to scale it up that well. According to the founders, lack of deep knowledge in the field of hospitality industry.

Current Status – Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder –

1. Concentrate on one thing to the core (never tie up rope and try learning swimming)

2. If there are too many family pressures. Get married first and then startup, gives you more time.

3. Take risk and don't wait for right co-founder, instead be the driving force.

4) Name – SASLAB Technologies

Founder – Saurav Karmakar

This start-up was in the field of Information Security Services and Products. Problems like getting the right team, lack of funding, unable to grow with the market rate were the major reasons of their failure.

Current Status – Starting up again

Important Tips by the Founders - Build the Proper team, As Jack ma said "Hire the right people not the best people" and proper market survey and research.

5) Name – BlogTard.com

Founder- Yash Shah

Startup used to  set up a blogging network for enterprises. A closed network of employee blogs for each other. A little less gossipy than yammer, and more engaging than collaboration tools. According to the team, they could not match the customer expectations and thus leading to lack of customer acquisition.

Current Status – Starting up again

Important Tips by the Founder – I am starting up again. Working on Gridle.io. It is a productivity platform for enterprises through task management and multiple communication channels within teams in an enterprise. Our clients (decision makers) can see productivity increase in less than a couple of months and our customers (employees) can prioritize and be result oriented. We have started generating revenue and are coming across people who are receiving it well. If all goes well, we will introduce an enterprise blog like feature in Gridle as well.

6) Name- HashTag

Founder – Paritosh Sharma

The start-up provided a Crowd sourcing platform for start-ups to validate their idea/ products. Though accelerated by Intel & UCB as part  of the t2ma, they failed to make money.

Current Status - Consulting + Helping startups + Starting up again

Important Tips by the Founder –

Reduce noise around you. Bootstrap + Make money and not run after raising.

7) Name- Blahdiary

Founder- Lijin John

Aggregated interesting content on politics, social life, branding , and took copyediting projects with the promise of instilling best copywriting and marketing concepts . The idea lacked clarity, form and direction.

Current Status – Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder - Make sure that the face of the organisation, its core offering and the team behind delivering this is on the same page. Focus and put efforts at being the master of one being the core product.

8) Name - Follow up manager

Founder – Vikas Mulchandani

This venture created a CRM product to increase sales/support performance for SME's through timely follow up's. The application was designed for owners who run small companies and want to know how the staff is performing. The reasons that led  to shut it down were:

1) Implementation - Shifting cutsomers from Pen and paper to Software is very difficult

2) Customization - No matter how good you make it, the customer would tell you some changes in it

3) Co-founder could not dedicate time.

Current Status – Corporate Job and working on next Startup

Important Tips by the Founder - In the first start up I had capital crunches and wanted to use more of "part timers" to save money.  In my 2nd start up I am outsourcing work to full time professionals.

I also believe the co founder lacked passion and was only in the business for money (which is not a bad thing) but however the missing that dive in a co-founder can bog you down. In my 2nd start up "No Co founder";  atleast yet.

9) Name- Academic Ventures

Founder – Arpit Agarwal

They helped  institutes  in India commercialize their technology. According to the Founders, after working for a period of 18 months both the supply and demand side showed no traction.

Current Status – Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder –

1. Use Lean Startup from day zero

2. Build a solid founding team with complementary skill sets (I started almost alone)

yourstory_StartupsFailure14_Part2_InsideArticle1

11) Name- Benarasisarees.com

Founder – Abhishek Kumar

It was an An E-Commerce portal of handloom products from the Looms of Varanasi. Weak business model, lack of customer satisfaction and not full involvement of the team led to the downfall.

Current Status- Starting Up again

Important Tips by the Founder –

1. Focus on one work at a time ( Don't work on two start-ups at the same time ).

2. Get the terms clear with the core team

12) Name – Virtuplus

Founder – Vinay Mehta

It was an ecommerce website for niche goods. Could not compete with the market leaders and thus lost the customers and had to shut down.

Current Status – Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder - Work more on raw sketches before implementation.

13) Name – FTW

Founder – Siddhant Gupta

Was a website which used to sell sunglasses of various types like wooden, or sarcastic messages written on them. They knew the marketing side but dint know the construction side of it, wooden glasses used to cost them a lot.

Current Status – Starting Up again

Important Tips by the Founder - First of all, try to know the crux of the industry you are operating in. Be a bit more open about  the idea. Build a team. Connect to more and more mentors who can guide the way to go about the idea. The biggest mistake I did was I tried to deliver "perfection" in my first shot, which is never possible.You need to deliver whatever you have and then improvise gradually.

14) Name – Oravel Stays (pivot to OYO Rooms)

Founder – Ritesh Agarwal

The company served as a Marketplace for Bed and breakfast.The reason of failure was not proper building of a team which led to arguments in the team and ultimately the downfall.

Current Status – Starting Up again

Important Tips from the Founder – Do the paperwork well and build a proper team.

15) Name – Discountbull.com

Founder- Venkataramana / Prabhu

Online e-commerce for showing discount on clothes. Didn't find the proper team and a less than attractive website couldn’t attract the customers. Lack of money inputs led to the downfall.

Current Status- Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder – Build a good team and see for the funding initially.

yourstory_StartupsFailure14_Part2_InsideArticle2

16) Name- TechBloggerz

Founder – Arjun

The company used to deliver online technology news. Main reason for the failure was lack of cash inflow.

Current Status – Starting up again.

Important Tips by the Founder – Look for funds initially.

17) Name- Uncafe.in

Founder – P Karan Jain

Social networking kind of portal which used to make portfolios of users. Lack of team building led to failure.

Current Status – Studying

Important Tips by the Founder – Build a good team which could complement the work.

18) Name- Opus Content Solution

Founder – Enoch Joy

The website used to provide content for websites and SEO providers. The founder himself lost interest and could not really scale up later.

Current Status – Sabbatical

19) Name – MSN Advertisers

Founder – Vikas kataria

The company was working in the domain of Printing /Flex banner/ visting cards/ paper printing etc. Major reason for the downfall was financial issues.

Current Status- Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder – Get good team in sales and marketing and also backup yourself with some good amount of money.

20) Name – Late night food

Founder – Gaurav Sharma

The company was a late night food delivery service started with outsource food ,bouquet and every essential items whatever you want in dark hours .Some issues and financial problems led to closure of the venture.

Current Status- Corporate Job

Important Tips by the Founder – Scale up your idea properly and also back yourself with money.

21) Name – Visify Books

Founder – Sanket Shah

It was a company which provided Video Cliff Notes for Business Books. The main reason behind the failure was that one of the founders had given it a 3 month try period also funds became an issue.

Current Status – Starting Up again

Important Tips by the Founder  - Choose your co-founder properly.

22) Name  - bonafidesoftwares pvt ltd

Founder – Chirag Dhori

It was a software product company working on software product dental software and school erp software. Lack of team support led to closure.

Current Status – Starting Up again

Important Tips – Do your work yourself. Do not depend on the other co-founder for the work.

Here are a few more mistakes that kill startups in this infographic from Funders and Founders

fundersandfounders_18-Mistakes-That-Kill-Startups

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