5 Great Apps that Failed

Designing, building and launching an app business from zero can be a risky endeavour.

The statistics may not be in app startups failure, but there are reasons for these failures that can be accounted for.

Here are 5 notable app failures to help young startups avoid some of the mistakes.

5 Great Apps that Failed

1. Everpix

Everpix was a good project. While traveling around Asia, the founder of Everpix Mr. Latour got annoyed with how fast hundreds of pictures became a mess. Looking for one particular photo took forever as you had to dig through all the shots taken before. Latour came up with a decision to build the app that will sort and organize pics, while storing them online. The team of designers and developers built the app based on the algorithm that sorted and pulled the best shots.

By 2012 Everpix had 55,000 of active users and substantial investment. By 2013 they shut down.

Why did that happen? There were two major reasons. The team wanted to get everything right. But good apps don’t come cheap. As reported by Verge, who did the bankruptcy analysis, $1.4 million out of $2.3 million raised was spent on employees.

There was a more serious reason for failure ― company didn’t sell its product. They knew the app was amazing and relied on it to sell itself ― what never happens. There were no salespeople in the team and it was a huge mistake. App stores are a highly competitive environment, where even the best apps need serious promotion and constant advertising.

2. Auctionata

Online, live-streamed auctions could have changed the world of selling fine art and collectibles. It was an ambitious project designed to attract greater audience to art auctions by delivering the bidding hype through the devices. The early attempts at broadcasting events failed to meet the expected level, limited by slow broadband speeds, poor customer service, problems with online payment and delivery concerns.

With almost $96 million raised since its foundation in 2012, Auctionata closed down in February 2017 after experiencing crucial financial difficulties.

3. Hailo

Hailo was a mobile app that allowed getting a taxi from your device. It stormed NYC in the beginning of 2013, with over $100 millions being invested in the app. By October 2014 they were broke.

When e-taxi got legalized in NYC, number of business including Uber and GetTaxi were intensively competing to conquer the market of the Big Apple. The Hailo planned to win that competition by offering good prices for yellow taxis, while yielding the higher niche of black classic cabs to Uber. Unfortunately for Hailo, Uber had great plans for the whole market, not just premium segment. Uber was able to offer even greater fares and won the price race.

The final thing that destined Hailo to fail was the ignorance of NYC reality ― most of the yellow cab drives didn’t carry mobile devices. That meant the lower level of cars available for service. Hailo business model worked great in London, where it originally came from. But what works in one place, doesn’t guarantee success in other.

4. Yik Yak

Developed as an anonymous network, the app became very popular among the attendants of schools and colleges. Launched in 2013, Yik Yak had raised almost $75 million in investment. In 2014 the market value of Yik Yak was almost $400 million.

For the network like that, facing threats of abuse and cyberbullying in the app was a matter of time. Solution to the issues was never found. That made many users to turn their backs on Yik Yak. The end of 2016 unveiled a disastrous tendency — the number of downloads dropped dramatically by 75% within a year. At that time the company decided to lay off 60% of the employees.

The once well-known messaging space Yik Yak said goodbye to its users in May 2017.

5. Quixey

May 2017 became the last month for another massively funded app.

With $165 million raised in venture capital and its market valuation of $600 million, a mobile search company was developing a digital assistant app. The main functionality of Quixey was helping users to find content in the apps installed on their devices.

With Alibaba being the leading shareholder ― the Chinese company invested almost $80 million ― Quixey became a good example of how dangerous debt is, when you are backed by venture capital. In February 2017 Alibaba refused another round of investment. Right after that most of the team was dismissed. According to the announcement by Alibaba, Quixey didn’t meet expectations and the board decided to shut the project down.

Concluding note

Apps rise and fall, but the experience gained through hundreds of failures can help to make your app another story of success.

If you’re about to invest tens of thousands of dollars in launching a business app, take every possible action to avoid mistakes already made by other companies and startups. Carefully analyze every constituent of the app marketing plan. Target the audience, find the right niche, consider sales and promote your app at all times. Keep everything clear. Is one sentence enough to explain why one should download your app? Well, it should be.

And one last thing, react to changing circumstances. What worked for one company, or a particular product may become a straight path to failure for another.

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