As more money pours into the tech sector and billion-dollar “unicorn” companies continue to pop up in Silicon Valley, it’s important to take a moment to remember those startups that crashed-and-burned instead of cashing out.
A new website — Autopsy.io — just launched to keep those failures all together in one neat place, complete with a summary of why each company flopped, in hopes of providing a lesson for others to learn from.
In a simple spreadsheet format, the site lists each startup name, its basic idea, the founder, and the company’s reason for failure with a link out to an article about its demise.
“We want the site to be a place you can go to learn from others,” the site’s co-creator, Niral Patel, told Business Insider. “We want to keep it positive.”
“Yeah, it’s definitely about the lessons,” his cofounder Matthew Davies added. “Hopefully people will see the patterns. That seems to be the main thing people are talking about so far. We’ve seen lists of the ten things that everyone does right, and we’re hoping that this will be equally as valuable.”
How it all began
Davies, cofounder of web agency Milc, first flirted with the idea of keeping track of failed startups last year when the topic came up in conversation with his partner who was watching her clothing company fall apart.
The idea appealed to him, but it continued to get tabled until about a month ago when Patel, his friend and collaborator who currently works for the startup Same Room, asked whether he had any interesting projects he wanted to work on.
The duo wrote the code for the site and forgot about it until Friday, when they finally set it live. They posted it in a few public Slack chat rooms and people started flocking to it right away.
“What stands out to me, is how many company’s say they failed because of a ‘lack of market fit,'” Patel told Business Insider. “There are just so many people building things that they don’t have a customer for. It’s like, this is ridiculous! When you see them all at once, I can’t believe this many startups got funded.”
The spreadsheet is an evolving beast. Right now, a lot of the companies listed were pretty small before they caved, like Pumodo, an app for football players to share their stats, or Flud, a mobile news platform. Davies and Patel say they started their list by searching Medium and doing other research, but they have received more than 30 new submissions so far, which they will be adding gradually.
The site, which has received nearly 40,000 visits so far, was originally going to be called “Sh– Startup,” but the duo decided that a more tongue-in-cheek and less outright-mean nomenclature would be a better fit.