With the exception of Taylor Swift, 2017 wasn’t a good year for anyone. But the employees and entrepreneurs at these startups had a particularly rough time. While each company or gadget had its own reason for sunsetting, the following failures tended to result from one of two problems: On-demand services were slow to turn a profit, and hardware turned out to be really hard. But lessons were learned, assets liquidated, and pivots made.
Better luck next year, Silicon Valley!
In a year when many startups went belly up, Lily Robotics set the tone with its January collapse. Back in May 2015, Lily’s product debut video went viral after showing a drone with four propellers that could autonomously follow people as they snowboarded or kayaked, taking off straight from the water or landing in users’ hands. The problem? Most of it was faked. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office filed a civil suit in January and alleged that the company had used GoPros and other professional drones to film their launch video and led viewers to think that the crisp images were from Lily’s flagship device. Lily, which raised more than $15 million in venture capital funding and $34 million in preorders, would go on to declare bankruptcy and promised that it would refund customers who had paid in advance. But some people are still waiting.
HomeHero, founded in 2013, provided…