2 years ago I attended the Barclays Techstars graduation day pitch in London. My report from then is here. I was excited and impressed, but knew the stats about startup survival rates. So I thought it would be interesting to do a Whatever happened to… followup post two years later (an eon in startup time).
I put them into 3 categories based on recency of funding as per Crunchbase (if they have it wrong for your company, please update Crunchbase and tell us in comments). Funding is a proxy for traction but only a proxy. If the company is thriving the old fashioned way by customer revenue, please tell us in comments.
Category 1. Never raised money beyond Seed in summer 2014.
They may still be in business. (If you are, please tell us in comments and update Crunchbase). Most probably they are not still in business and the best one can say is that they failed fast, losing little of their own time or their investor’s money.
Category 2. Has not raised money in last 18 months but did raise some money after the summer of 2014.
This is worse (unless Crunchbase is wrong and they are thriving) as it took longer and cost more to get to the same place as Category 1.
Category 3. Has raised money in last 18 months.
These are the ones that may make it through that uber Darwinian process known as creating a high tech startup. Their journey will be a tale worth telling. Even these are on the early stage of this journey – they may have reached Basecamp on their way to Everest Summit. This is hard and takes time.
Hard to Categorise
There is no sign of funding on Crunchbase but other signs of health indicate they may still be around but just keeping funding sources quiet.
It’s a Darwinian Process
My three top rated ventures were Aire, Squirrel and Do-Pay. It looks like I may have got one out of three right – Aire is clearly raising money and getting traction.
At the event, Barclays Techstars was talking about their filtering process to get from 340 applicants to 11 that got into the program.
To get a real result for investors and founders means a liquidity event – trade sale or IPO. So even the 3 in Category 3 are only at the start of their journey.
It’s a tough Darwinian process for founders and entrepreneurs, with plenty of excitement along the way. Failing fast and trying again is the mantra for founders; investors have a portfolio so many failed ventures are OK if they get one big winner. So tales of ventures not making it should not and will not deter those who want to give it a go.
We may see these ideas resurface
Research shows that the single biggest factor in startup success/failure is timing.Many of these maybe great ideas, but the timing was off. We may see these ideas resurface with a different name/team.