Shut Down: ~ July 2011
Founder: Vishwas Prabhakara, Art Chang and Joe Pestro
Funding: Seed funding (Y Combinator)
Acquired: beRecruited (June 2011)
Fanvibe was a sports web application where users could check-in to matches that were currently being played to interact with friends who are also watching. Fanvibe covered the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, college basketball, college football, and the English Premier League.
The interesting thing about Fanvibe was that it shut down because of external reasons, namely the NFL and NBA lockouts, that were beyond Fanvibe’s control. The startup was acquired shortly before shutting down by beRecruited and it was quite popular, with around 100,000 users. But the threat of a continued lockout made the outlook for Fanvibe’s near future difficult and beRecruited decided to call it quits.
The takeaway lesson here is simply the reminder that startups can fail, despite having traction, for reasons entirely outside of the startup’s control. You can do everything right and still have outside forces cause you to fail, as in Fanvibe’s case. Fortunately for the founders, they were acquired and are now working at beRecruited, but it could have ended far worse, and through little fault of their own.