2017 saw the demise of several well-funded products and startups.
The most recognizable name among them is AOL Instant Messenger, the beloved online messaging platform of old (the service reportedly reached its peak with about 100 million users in 2001.)
Juicero (initially raised $134 million)
“It was a $699 juicer that was Wi-Fi controlled. But Consumer Reports started testing it, because that’s a lot of money to lay down for a juicer, and it turns out it did no better than if you just squeezed the fruit with your fist,” Burns said.
Snap Spectacles (lost $40 million)
“Snapchat saw Google Glasses and the massive failure that they were and thought, ‘Uh, yeah we should try that,’” Burns said. “You had to carry around an external battery pack which isn’t fashionable at all. You looked like an idiot if you wore them at night because they were tinted sunglasses. You couldn’t wear them while you were driving.”
Luxe (initially raised $75 million)
“Luxe was basically kind of like an uber-esque service, where if you were having trouble finding a parking spot, you would be able to summon someone to come to your car and then I don’t know if they actually just drove it around until you were ready or if they found a parking spot for you. But it turns out people weren’t all that comfortable with strangers driving their car around,” Burns said.
Yik Yak (initially raised $70 million)
“Yik Yak was kind of a social media platform except you were allowed to stay anonymous on it,” Burns said. “What Yik Yak turned into, essentially, was a way for young kids who hadn’t studied for a test that day to fake a bomb threat for their schools. So a lot of bad press surrounding Yik Yak.”
Lily Robotics (initially raised $16 million in capital, $34 million in pre-orders)
“It was supposed to be a camera that was attached to a drone. And if you wanted to take really cool footage of yourself skiing or snowboarding or something like that, the drone would follow you. You wouldn’t have to worry about it. It would film you the whole time,” Burns said. “It was their launch video that did them in. It turned out in the launch video for the Lily Robotics they were not using Lily Robotics, they were actually using other companies’ products. They got busted using a GoPro.”