Shutting Down a Startup

A few weeks ago I was talking to an entrepreneur who was out of money and deciding what to do. I asked if he was going to shut it down completely or let it live on like many of the zombie startups out there. He decided to shut it down completely so that he could move on and have a fresh start.

Here are a few thoughts on shutting down a startup:

  • Make a conscious decision to fully shut it down or to let it limp along without any attention — regardless, make a decision
  • Talk with a lawyer to go through the necessary legal steps to dissolve the legal entity and any other legal requirements
  • Reach out to customers, investors, advisors, etc and explain the decision as well as rationale
  • Connect with friends, colleagues, and peers and share with them lessons learned (very cathartic)

Shutting down a startup is never easy as there’s so much time, energy, and effort in the journey. Take it one step at a time and properly lay it to rest.

What else? What are some other ideas around shutting down a startup?

2 thoughts on “Shutting Down a Startup

  1. Brad Feld highlighted the idea of a Startup Wake in his “Startup Communities” book. I love the idea of publicly shutting down a startup – it acknowledges the hard work put in by the team even thought it was unsuccessful, it’s a very public acceptance of failure (which should encourage others to try harder), and it even gives the failing team a way to network to another job.

  2. One of the most helpful bits when shutting down our startup builds upon your bullet #3: Tell the story you want to tell, and don’t whine. When we decided to shutter the business, we moped and groped for a few days. After the pity party, we emerged with solid story about the arc of our business, and the rationale to along with it.

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