The Series A crunch has claimed another startup.After a year in stealth mode, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and a $600,000 seed round, Turf Geography Club has died. Its founder Michael Tseng is now working on his next venture.
The Series A Crunch is the idea that startups are running out of cash, and investors are hesitating to give them a few million more to see if their businesses have legs.
As investor Fred Wilson recently wrote, “There are plenty of us who fund hopes and dreams. And plenty of us willing to fund true success. At the stage where you are past hopes and dreams, where you have customers, revenue, and a real business, but have not yet reached “true success”, there just aren’t many investors to choose from.”
Apparel company Quincy and office-sharing startup Loosecubes were both killed by the cash crunch.
Turf was a more gamified version of Foursquare, where players could check into local venues via mobile devices and “take over” buildings in their neighborhoods. It meshed Sim City with Foursquare check-ins and awarded trophies and coins like Mario Brothers. Turf was one of the first successfully-funded Kickstarter campaigns back in April 2011. Tseng spent the next year perfecting the product and its launch seemed successful. Its users checked in more than 100,000 times in the first few days.
But when you put so much time and energy into a product before releasing it into the wild, it can be a hindrance. Tseng labored over the app for more than a year before releasing it to beta testers. “Games are hard to predict. And when you try to do a lot before you release a product, it can be hard to pivot later,” one person said of Turf’s decision to shut down. The company hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
Here’s the Facebook message Turf posted on Friday:
Good evening Geographers. We have some bittersweet news. We have decided, after much deliberation, to stop working on Turf. It’s been a labour of love for the last two years and definitely not something that we can easily part with. However, we figure that there are newer flashier things to spend our time building. Things which we’ve begun to design and code. Turf was a fun foray into gaming that we have learned so much from. This is by no means our final adventure.
To everyone who supported us from the start we are sad to say goodbye. To those who joined us later we must bid you adieu as well… for now. We plan to announce some more exciting projects in the future and will have a new site up with info on how you might get involved.
Also I still have to ship out all of this Turf Swag which will no doubt be worth more now that our game is soon to be a fond memory. I will be getting to that now that I have a bit more free time.
We will be keeping the servers running for another two weeks. Until next time, keep exploring.
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