Shut Down: January 2012
Newsberry was an email marketing product that was founded by the then consulting company Wildbit. It was shut down after 7 years, which is a reasonable run in itself, but the unusual thing about this story is that at the time of shutting down, Newsberry was actually profitable (to the tune of $75,000 per year).
So why did they shut down? Why didn’t they sell? Wildbit have written two blog posts (here and here) explaining their decision to kill a profitable product without selling out. The crux of the problem was that Wildbit themselves didn’t particularly like the product, weren’t proud of it, didn’t even use it and basically ignored it. The second of the posts exlpains why they didn’t sell – they wanted to, but couldn’t find a suitable buyer.
This probably doesn’t qualify as a failed startup, but it does illustrate some of the complex reasons people have for creating, maintaining and letting a startup go.