Resources like The Startup Owner's Manual and The Lean Startup omit details on company failure. Analytics websites like CB Insights and Crunchbase only contain objective facts such as company size, founders and funding. Events like TechCrunch Disrupt and TV shows like Shark Tank do not analyze why companies do not succeed. The purpose of Startup Graveyard is to become the resource where entrepreneurs learn from past company failures. The analysis is based on data from articles written by founders about their failures and articles written about the company by outside sources. In both cases, the reasons for failure are extracted and displayed on Startup Graveyard. This project currently focuses on data from 28 failed startups, including their reasons for failure, location, years of operation, industry, founders, funding, investors and competitors.
Historically, businesses that exist today began as startups. From an economic perspective, entrepreneurship is seen as a driver for economic growth for the creation of new jobs (Kane 2010). Though data shows that over 90% of startups fail (Startup Genome 2011), there is no consensus on reasons for failure in existing research. According to Paula Andruss, most failure is due to lack of preparation, confusion of a product for a business, not investing in expertise, and the underutilization of data (Audruss 2016). John Rampton proposes failure occurs when one founder tries to do it all, when business plans are poorly executed, money is not managed wisely, and pivots are not timely (Rampton 2016). CB Insights found that the top reasons for failure are lack of market need, lack of funding, poor team dynamics, and competition. Eggers and Song found that entrepreneurs are likely to blame the external environment for failure and change industries for their next venture, which comes at a loss because their experience could be useful for the same industry (Eggers, Song 2014). According to CB Insights, 55% of failed startups raised $1M or less, and 71% of the failed companies lasted less than two years after their latest round of funding. They also found that the amount of money raised by the failed companies from 2010-2013 was $11.3 million.
From a global perspective, the New Indian Express attributes start-up failure in Hyderabad to the focus on expansion rather than settling into a market (2016). Additionally, Silicon Valley, Cambridge, and Munich have more commonalities in attitudes for startup failure compared to differences (Cotterill 2013).
There is scattered information about startup failure online. Autopsy.io is a collection of failed start-ups in a spreadsheet form. TechCrunch’s "Deadpool" is a collection of company shutdown articles in chronological order. CB Insights’ collection of company postmortems highlights key paragraphs from articles about failed startups. Finally, CrunchBase is a company database that provides trends and information without a layer of analysis for closed companies. The closest competition to Startup Graveyard is Autopsy.io but the execution, content and approaches of the sites are different. There is no method of filtering by category on CB Insights or Autopsy.io, and the information is limited about the failure.