The Bay Area is an open pasture for these proverbial unicorns to gallop abound in, unbothered by status quos or scaling norms. But, given enough time and financial pressures, some simply reveal themselves as donkeys dressed in drag, embellished with Party City-purchased headwear. Alas, 2019 saw a handful of these mythical quadrupeds leave the harras.
2020 is expected to be yet another banner year for startups and their IPs here in the bay. But that's not to say all — most, frankly — will ascend to cultural synonymization and smartphone icon staples.
So, as the year comes to a close and we sit on the edge of a new techy decade, let's take a second to pause and give a moment of silence for these ten once-promising, horned quadrupeds that, unfortunately, turned out to have limp limbs and flaccid forehead protrusions.
- Nomiku (2012–2019): They promised to bring WiFi to sous vide and meal preparation...but, ultimately, the company rain out of money this year before that vision gained hold.
- HomeShare (2016–2019): In a stretch to become the WeWork of communal living, they ended up suffering a similar fate, albeit a worse one — they went under, completely, amidst funding issues.
- Munchery (2010–2019): They offered same-day delivery for local foods, closing this year due to mounding competition and unscalability.
- Naya Health (2013–2019): A breast pump company that struggled to scale and secure funding.
- Omni (2015–2019): Omni wanted to be an online mecca for storage and product rentals for neighborhood stores, the model, though, proved stagnant.
- Anki (2010–2019): A promising AI company that was looking into mechanical autonomy (and bringing cute AF small robots to the market)...until they closed shop this year, because of a lack of funding.
- uBiome (2012–2019): They made media rounds as giving the public the first at-home fecal testing kit; they filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy this October.
- Chariot (2014–201): The app-based shuttle service company that lost its mojo to the increasing popularity of other ride-share apps, public transportation, and the dawn of the e-bikes and e-scooters.
- Singulex (1997–2019): After more than two decades in the tooth, the blood-testing company closed after being accused of billing customers for unnecessary testing, and they simply couldn't come back from the fallout.
- Scaled Inference (2014–2019): Founded by former Googlers Olcan Sercinoglu and Dmitry Lepikhin, the duo planned on creating a computer learning machine and service that was not only up to par with Google’s, but able to surpass it—and, too, morphing it into a cloud-based services so everyone had access to it; a lack of, you guessed it, money and commercial traction lead to its demise.
Cheers to them ... and may the like-minded models that follow suit learn from their mistakes.
*A piece published by the San Francisco Business Times was used as a reference to compile this list