Notifo

Launched: ~ March 2010

Shut Down: ~ September 2011

Founder: Chad Etzel, Paul Stamatiou

Funding: Seed funding (Y Combinator – Winter 2010)

Notifo was a mobile application which allowed websites or online services to push notifications to subscribers on their mobile phones. Technically Notifo is still alive (at the time of writing), but a shutdown notice on their blog points out that the service is no longer being developed and will eventually shut down.

Like many other failed startups, the key reason for Notifo’s pending shut down is lack of traction – as the blog put it, the service “never gained enough traction with publishers or consumers to make enough revenue to pay the bills and sustain it as a company.”

The founders put 20 months into the startup before they finally ran out of money and had to give up, but this was certainly enough time to invalidate the concept. Clearly, there wasn’t enough of a market for a third-party notification service – probably because 1) most web services already have their own mobile apps and 2) users are already being flooded with app notifications and inbound marketing.