76 Powerful Lessons from Failed Startups

June 5, 2015

5:00 pm

While the notions of casual wear, hip coworking spots, and Friday in-office happy hours are very alluring for those wanting to get into the startup life, the reality is that most startups will inevitably fail. We read stories all the time about startups raising X amount of money or launching a new iteration of their product, but oftentimes such “successes” are really nothing more than an attempt to survive another couple of months., a site featuring stories from 76 founders on their failed startups, have been making the rounds, and it offer some very real and very human stories on startup founders and the factors that led to their startup failure.

“Many startup folk say that failure should be celebrated. ‘Fail fast, fail early, fail often!’ they all chant, trying to put a positive spin on the most excruciating pain any founder could experience,” shares 99dresses founder Nicki Durkin. “Let me tell you — failure fucking sucks. If I would have failed fast, early and often then I would have given up 99dresses years ago when, in 2011, I travelled to my parent’s place in the countryside of Australia, locked myself away in my room and cried for what seemed like an entire week.”

This isn’t the first time that founders have shared their startup failure stories on an online medium. Previously, we shared startup failure stories from 30 founders; is more of a directory of various failed startups with links to complete stories from their founders on what led to their failures and how those failures ultimately affected the people behind those companies.

There are many reasons why startups ultimately fail. Look through the list of brief statements from founders on and you’ll see repeating themes tied to failures in product-market fit, capital, and scaling and traction.  But while the reasons behind failure are often repeated in the startup story of many different companies, the realities facing the people behind each of those failures are all unique. Clicking on the stories, though, you’ll read about founders going through the personal pains tied to their companies’ failures: the breaking apart of personal relationships, the destruction of personal finances, and the overall deterioration of their well-being.

It’s a very powerful set of stories that you need to check out, and you’ve got the weekend to do it. Currently, there are 76 stories featured on, with more expected to be added as the site picks up more steam. Check them out on

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.