The Startup That Won't Let Startups Fail πŸš€

NicolΓ‘s Cerdeira is the founder and creator of the content and community site Failory. By day, the 19-year-old is taking his degree in business economics, but as soon as the school bell rings, he is growing his company and empowering entrepreneurs worldwide by distributing knowledge about why startups fail.

May 17, 2021 Β· Jacques NΓΈrbo

How Did It All Begin?

At 15 years old, the Buenos Aires-based teenager found an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. As a product of the internet generation, he started expanding his knowledge through online communities like Product Hunt, Hacker News, and the /Entrepreneur on Reddit. The concept of bootstrapping especially captivated his interest. Even though he was only a teen at the time, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and knew that building something from the bottom-up was what he wanted to achieve.

In the following years, he constantly read about successful startups and entrepreneurs and was, as so many others, fascinated and attracted by the concept of startup success. When you hear about entrepreneurship in the media, you'll often hear the almost 'larger-than-life' stories about excentric ultra-successful genius-like entrepreneurs who overcame adversity and build billion-dollar corporations. The moral in stories like that is if you work hard enough and follow your passion, you'll have a chance to make it big and change the world. It is very inspiring indeed – but it isn't necessarily that helpful for startup founders looking for guidance to navigate the rugged entrepreneurial path.

Nico found it strange how we're bombarded with startup success stories, but it's almost impossible to find information about startup failures. As he dived into the subject, he discovered another side of the often romanticized world of startups and entrepreneurship. In his research, he came across a fact that would forever change his trajectory in life.

90% of Startups Fail 😱

Almost every startup fails... That realization would become the catalyst to his entrepreneurial journey and the angle to the startup he created called Failory. Inspired by Stripe's 2017 acquisition of Indie Hackers and the website's incredible success, he was inspired to recreate their business model. He wanted to create a knowledge-sharing community website focusing on helping entrepreneurs. He wanted to interview failed startup founders and bring valuable startup insights to the surface thus allowing entrepreneurs to learn from previously failed startups and the mistakes committed by other entrepreneurs. Failory's goal was to be a business fueled by the betterment of the startup community. And guess what – today it is πŸš€

... But Why do Most Startups Actually Fail? 

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Dive into this excellent article for more in-depth info about startup mistakes. Failory has analyzed more than 80+ failed startups and found all the common failings. Here are the findings!

Why is Product-Market Fit so Important? 🀌🏼

Product-market fit is essential because, only until you have one, you don't know whether or not the thing you are building solves a real problem, for actual humans, in the real world. If you don't do that, there is no market for the product or service, and a market has the same importance for a business as oxygen has to a human being; it will inevitably suffocate without it.

Suppose you're not sure that you've got a product-market fit. In that case, you could be wrongfully investing in developing something that is not commercially viable, or burn cash by hiring prematurely- or investing in sales and marketing that will never generate any return. Premature scaling is often stated as one of the main reasons startups fail as well!

A Taste For Failure πŸ’

Nico and his partner build the prototype for Failory in two weeks; they had nine interviews with failed startup founders and launched on Product Hunt and Hacker News. In the first week, +10K users entered the website and segmented the thirst for the type of content they were providing.

Failory was, in contrast to its name, a success. Since then, the company has created a broad range of original content, from a podcast to their hugely popular startup graveyard, with over +200 analyses on why startups and company's fail. The weekly all-in-one Failory newsletter for startup founders has +7.000 subscribers who consume all their latest content and curated resources. As startup nerds, we must admit that it's a treat!

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What are Failory's Challenges? β˜„οΈ

  • Monetization: It has always been a problematic task monetizing Failory. It is a website that provides free content, and until late 2020 the main focus has been on generating an audience. Earlier, Failory had been driving revenue by advertisement packages, sponsorships, and affiliates but has recently adjusted its strategy to begin selling digital products.
  • Prioritizing: As a young 19-year-old man currently enrolled in university, time is a scarce resource. The single factor affecting the development of Failory the most is that Nico's time is scattered between Failory and school work. Until recently, he has been running Failory almost entirely on his own but has lately been able to delegate the day-to-day operations to concentrate his focus on the overall strategy and business design. Previously, Nico focused on 10-12 Failory goals per year, which only confused him, making it hard to accomplish any of them. The new strategy is to solely concentrate on two per year and work in a goal-oriented way towards them.

Failory's Goals for 2021 🎯

  • Revenueβ†’ $10k/mo: Failory has finally reached a satisfying critical mass and is ready to generate revenue by selling digital products. It has already published its first digital product, an e-book about product-market fit. The e-book performed very well, and the strategy is to develop more digital products that can drive revenue. 
  • Organic traffic β†’ 150k users/mo: Failory's organic traffic has been relatively steady for the last year, at around 40k-50k users per month coming from Google. This year, the company aims to triple that figure. They are hyper-focused on organic traffic because of its consistency over time and its ability to convert into email subscribers.

The End ✨

We're sure that great things lie ahead for Nico and Failory. We can't wait to follow their progress and share their startup journey. One thing is sure: Nico is an inspiring young man, and we are pretty sure that he'll continue to impress in whatever endeavor he is involved with. Entrepreneurship is all about creating value from where value has not been extracted before. Creating value from existing failures is, to be honest, quite brilliant. We're in love with the concept and recommend any startup founder to dive into the subject of why startups fail. Remember, the only real failure is the one from which we learn nothing 🧠

πŸ›£ To be continued!

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How do you prevent startup failure?

Validation: Talk to customers, test your assumptions, and find a market before investing a considerable amount of time, effort, and money into a startup idea.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Build a prototype to test the market as quickly and efficiently as possible. Iterate often.
Risk: Make sure you can bear that failure financially and psychologically. Financing a startup idea with a loan is a terrible idea.
Personal wellbeing: Being a startup founder means things will inevitably be rough professionally for an extended period. Make sure you have some stability and certainty in your private life to balance it out.

Team and experience: Make sure your team ticks the right boxes. Founders tend to hire clones of themselves because they are easier to relate to. That is, in fact, counter-productive. Find people that are different from you who have other skills. If you operate in chaos, find one that works in order, and vice-versa.
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