A compilation of startup failure post-mortems by founders and investors. No survivorship bias here.
On his many failed experiments, Thomas Edison once said,
I have learned fifty thousand ways it cannot be done and therefore I am fifty thousand times nearer the final successful experiment.
So we thought it would be useful to see how startup founders and investors describe their failures.
While not exactly “50,000 ways it cannot be done,” below is a compilation of startup post-mortems that describe the factors that drove a startup’s demise.
Most of the failures have been told by the company’s founders, but in a few cases, we did find a couple from competitors, early employees, or investors including Roger Ehrenberg (now of IA Ventures) and Bruce Booth (Atlas Venture).
They are in no particular order, and there is something to learn from each and every one of them.
- 2016 Third Update (11/8/16)
- 2016 Second Update (7/28/2016)
- 2016 First Update (2/15/2016)
- 2015 Second Update (12/3/2015)
- 2015 First Update (8/15/2015)
- Second Update (9/24/2014)
- First Update (6/3/2014)
- Original 51 Startup Failure Post-Mortems (1/20/2014)