As the Canadian startup landscape becomes increasingly active and entrepreneurs get more bullish about their prospects for success, it’s important to remember startups are also high-risk propositions. It means there are far more failures than successes.
I was reminded of this reality yesterday when Thoora announced it will be shutting down on Dec. 15. It will be a sad day for Thoora’s employees who have fought the good fight during its “crazy journey”. For people who sit in the glass-half-full camp, Thoora has provided many people with invaluable experience that, hopefully, they will benefit from down the road.
In Canada, we tend to treat failure as a bad thing when, in fact, there are many positives. Instead of whispering about a startup not making it, we need to see failure as an important part of the startup ecosystem. Not every startup is going to be wildly or even mildly successful or purchased by Google, Facebook, et al. In the real world, many startups don’t make it for a variety of reasons.
It is, however, disappointing when a startup fails because the ecosystem operates on boundless optimism about what’s possible. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be an entrepreneur if you don’t believe you’ll be successful. This is why it’s sad to see startups shut their doors.
Over the next few years, there will be lots of failures such as Thoora. With the thousands of startups now be created, many of them will work hard but gain little or no traction. This is the dark side of current startup euphoria.
At the same time, life goes on. As someone who worked for two startups that weren’t successful in attracting many users or revenue, I can honestly say the experience gained was invaluable. Now when I work with startups to jump-start their digital marketing efforts, I tap many of the lessons from my startup experience that will, hopefully, play a small part in helping them be successful.