From ageing dinosaurs to failed startups, these are 13 of the biggest tech companies that went under in the 2010s

A dilapidated Blockbuster sign.
  • The 2010s saw booming growth across the tech industry, but some companies didn’t survive the decade.
  • Many of the companies that went under in the past decade were ageing dinosaurs that couldn’t adjust to changes brought about by new technology.
  • Other high-profile casualties included startups who raised hundreds of millions in venture capital before ultimately collapsing.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The 2010s were a decade of massive transformation for the tech industry. Advances in technology brought nearly every industry online, and the proliferation of mobile devices and social media fundamentally changed the way consumers and businesses interact.

The 2010s were also a bloodbath for companies that couldn’t keep up with seismic technological changes.

Dozens of high-profile companies went under in the past decade. While some were doomed by their reliance on outdated tech, others were new startups that raised millions before burning out.

These tech and media companies are now synonymous with obsolescence, but their decline and failure can provide valuable lessons about how fast industries are changing and what happens to entities that can’t keep up.

Here are 13 of the most notable tech companies to go under in the past decade.


2010: Blockbuster

Year founded: 1985

Peak valuation: $US8.4 billion in 1994

Declared bankruptcy: September 2010

Even though Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy nearly a decade ago, there’s one privately-owned Blockbuster franchise store left in the world. Read more about it here.


2011: Solyndra

AP

Founded: 2005

Peak revenue: $US140 million in 2010

Went out of business: 2011

The solar power startup was the first to receive a clean energy loan guarantee from the federal government in 2005. It shuttered in 2011, just five months after a visit from President Barack Obama.


2011: Palm

Founded: 1992

Peak valuation: $US53.3 billion in 2000

Went out of business: 2011

One of the largest beneficiaries of the dot com bubble of 2000, Palm was once valued higher than McDonalds, Chevron, and General Motors.


2013: Compaq

Getty Images/Brett Coomer

Founded: 1982

Peak valuation: $US40 billion in 2000

Brand killed: 2013

Compaq, once one of the largest PC makers in America, dwindled throughout the 2000s. After being purchased by Hewlett Packard for $US25 billion in 2002, the brand name was ultimately retired by HP in 2013.


2013: AltaVista

Founded: 1995

Peak valuation: $US2.3 billion in 1999

Shut down: 2013

Once one of the largest search engines, AltaVista was acquired by Yahoo in 2003 and ultimately shut down by the company in 2013.


2016: Friends Reunited

Wikimedia Commons

Founded: 2000

Peak valuation: $US297 million in 2005

Shut down: 2016

Founded six years before Facebook, Friends Reunited was an early social media platform that was primarily popular in the UK before fading out of relevance.


2016: Pebble

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Founded: 2012

Peak valuation: $US740 million in 2015

Went out of business: 2016

This early smartwatch began by raising $US10.3 million on Kickstarter, making it the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever at the time. Its owner turned down offers to sell the company for $US740 million in 2015, but struggled to compete with competitors like the Apple Watch and ultimately sold out to FitBit for less than $US40 million in 2016.


2017: Vertu

Founded: 1998

Peak valuation: $US297 million in 2012

Went bankrupt: 2017

Vertu initially branded itself as a luxury cell phone maker, with phones priced at $US6,000 in 2015. The company struggled to compete with major smartphone makers and collapsed in 2017.


2017: Jawbone

Founded: 1999

Peak valuation: $US3.2 billion in 2014

Shut down and liquidated: 2017

The consumer electronics unicorn once seemed like a sure bet, but shut down in 2017 after being sued by vendors who claimed they were owed money.


2018: Theranos

Jeff Chiu/AP

Founded: 2003

Peak valuation: $US10 billion in 2014

Went defunct: 2018

Theranos crumbled under the weight of the high expectations it set for itself when scientists and journalists poked holes in the company’s promises to run blood tests on a single drop of blood. Here’s everything that happened leading up to Theranos’s downfall.


2018: Path

Founded: 2010

Peak valuation: $US500 million in 2013

Discontinued: 2018

The social network was once a challenger to Facebook, but was rapidly shedding users in the years leading up to its demise.


2018: StumbleUpon

Scott Beale/Flickr

Founded: 2001

Peak valuation: $US75 million in 2007

Shut down: 2018

The once-popular web browsing tool was acquired by eBay in 2007, spun back out two years later, and finally acquired by Mix, which shut it down in 2018. It wasn’t the end of the road for StumbleUpon cofounder Garrett Camp however – he founded Uber in 2009.


2018: Alta Motors

Aaron Brown/Business Insider

Founded: 2007

Amount raised: $US45 million by 2018

Shut down: 2018

The electric motorcycle maker raised money from investors including Tesla co-founders Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard, but was unable to maintain its momentum.

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