This article looks at some bold startups we lost in 2023 and their value proposition. Failure is one of the key learning curves required to build a sustainable business enterprise that is future proof. It is rare to hear any successful entrepreneur tell you they got to where they are without failing forward.
You might find value in undertaking a more in depth research on what led to the end of these startups, either as a learning point or as inspiration. The founders of these companies will most likely comeback stronger and learn from past experiences to build a more sustainable enterprise that is future proof.
Fronted: Fronted was a UK fintech startup that helped renters finance their deposits through credit. It shut down due to a lack of funding, rising interest rates and other economic factors which shot their Capital Expenditure through the roof.
VanMoof: A Dutch e-bike startup that raised $241m in total. It declared bankruptcy in its Netherlands HQ and the UK, citing supply chain issues and high costs.
MusicQubed: A UK digital music streaming service that raised just under €1m since 2010. It went into liquidation, possibly due to competition from Spotify and Apple Music.
Alvant: A UK startup that produced new complex metal materials that were lighter than alternatives. It dissolved its operations, possibly due to lack of market demand or scalability.
SecretSales: A UK online discount retail platform that raised around $21m in funding. It shut down, possibly due to the impact of the pandemic and Brexit on consumer spending and logistics.
Aegis Data: A UK startup that offered data and compliance consultancy services to financial institutions. It raised £10m in one round in 2014. It went bust, possibly due to regulatory changes or competition from bigger players.
Insurami: A UK startup that offered deposit guarantees for commercial real estate landlords. It raised £43m in total, including £42m in debt. It filed for bankruptcy, possibly the pandemic.
Yababa: A Berlin-based grocery delivery startup backed by Creandum, Project A and Food Labs. It raised $15.5m in November 2021. It shut down, possibly due to the fierce competition from Gorillas, Flink and others.
Lightyear: A Netherlands-based startup that aimed to produce the world’s first production-ready solar car. It raised $241m in total, including €81m in September 2022. It filed for bankruptcy, possibly due to technical challenges or lack of consumer interest.
Convoy: A US-based trucking startup that raised over $665m in total, including $400m in November 2021. It shut down, possibly due to the rising costs of fuel and labor, and the regulatory pressure from the Biden administration.
Zume: A US-based startup that used robots to make pizzas and deliver them. It raised over $375m in total, including $375m from SoftBank in 2018. It shut down, possibly due to the poor quality of its product and the high operational costs.
HealthIQ: A US-based startup that offered lower insurance rates for healthy people. It raised over $140m in total, including $55m in 2018. It shut down, possibly due to the legal challenges from regulators and competitors, and the impact of the pandemic on its customer base.
Quibi: A US-based streaming platform that offered short-form content for mobile devices. It raised over $1.75b in total, including $750m in March 2020. It shut down, possibly due to the lack of user interest, content quality, and differentiation from other platforms.
Katerra: A US-based construction startup that aimed to revolutionize the industry with technology and prefabrication. It raised over $2b in total, including $200m in May 2020. It shut down, possibly due to the mismanagement, fraud, and debt issues.
Doppler Labs: A company that developed wireless earbuds with noise-cancelling technology. The company was unable to secure additional funding and had to shut down.
Munchery: A startup that provided on-demand meal delivery services. The company was unable to secure additional funding and had to shut down.
Shyp: A platform that provided on-demand shipping services. The company was unable to secure additional funding and had to shut down.
Oja: A UK grocery delivery startup for ethnic and world food products, backed by Raheem Sterling and others. It closed down due to funding constraints and low margins.
Eaze: A startup that provided on-demand medical marijuana delivery services. The company was unable to secure additional funding and had to shut down.
(1) The 2023 Startups 100 Index in Full - Startups.co.uk. https://startups.co.uk/startups-100/2023/full-list/.
(2) The European startups that have gone bust in 2023 | Sifted. https://sifted.eu/articles/startup-bankruptcies-2023.
(3) ⚰️ 15 Startups We Lost in 2023 - Failory. https://newsletter.failory.com/p/15-startups-lost-2023.
(4) Companies That Exited in 2023 (Top 10K) - Crunchbase. https://www.crunchbase.com/hub/companies-that-exited-in-2023.
(5) African startups that shutdown in 2023 | Business Insider Africa. https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/african-startups-that-shutdown-in-2023/z9emk74.
(6) Remembering the startups we lost in 2021 | TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2021/12/27/remembering-the-startups-we-lost-in-2021/.