This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

10 Tech Start-Ups Whose Sizzle Fizzled

"It can be very difficult to do that when you are out there raising money with the vision and the big excitement and a long-term view of things," Lipsky says. "It's a managerial issue. Building a culture of focus is just as important as a culture of hard work, working long hours and hiring smart people."

He admits that it sounds counterintuitive, but start-ups also need to be agile and willing to commit to strategic shifts in either product or service.

A killer mistake is when entrepreneurs don't focus sufficiently on customers and their experience with a product. In many cases, a launch can be rushed.

"Many entrepreneurs get excited about being first to market," Lipsky says. "It's very exciting because you are inventing something and thinking that because you are first to market you are going to succeed. The problem is that you are in the difficult position of educating the market about what the product is and why the market needs the product. You are also making product and service mistakes for the first time. It might be ideal to be second or third to the market. After the market is validated, then you can learn from the mistakes that have already been made."

Buzz may help draw in investors, but hype alone doesn't guarantee a company's success.

Pownce was a social media/microblogging site launched in 2007. The involvement of co-founder Kevin Rose (an entrepreneur associated with Digg, Revision3 and TechTV) gave the service instant, favorable media coverage that heralded it as the hottest of hot Silicon Valley start-ups. Advance sign-up invites were snatched up on eBay (EBAY).

Once all that frenzy subsided, the verdict was a resounding "meh." The site never lived up to the hype and couldn't capture, or retain, the dedicated user base it needed for survival.

By Dec. 1, 2008, less than a year after the public was allowed to log on, it was announced that Pownce was joining forces with blogging software company Six Apart. Despite promises of a new, improved site in 2009, Pownce never returned.

There were also high expectations for Quora, an online community where members shared their expertise via questions and answers. Founded in 2010 by former Facebook executives, the company was valued at roughly $1 billion lat year.

Quora is alive and well, though certainly not uttered in the same breath as Facebook or Twitter these days. In fact, even Quora has fielded the question, "Is Quora overhyped?"

For a very brief time, Chatroulette, created by a 17-year-old from Moscow, looked like it was going to be the next big thing in social media. The service -- which pairs Web-chatting users from all over the world anonymously -- failed to make it big with either investors or advertisers. As anyone who has ever visited the site can attest, adding anonymity to webcams equals nonstop genital exposure. Several comprehensive efforts to clean up the site have been tried, and failed, since the 2009 launch.

The following is a look at some other heavily hyped tech start-ups that never lived up to expectations and reside in the "Where are they Now" file:

2 of 9

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs