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2016 was a terrible year and 2017 certainly isn’t look up either.

Travis Kalanick has finally – ahem – officially, stepped down as CEO amidst the flurry of bad press plaguing his company.

But in the world of entrepreneurs, he’s not the only one suffering a spate of bad luck. Here are 8 others who’ve seen better days as well.

1. Daniel Ishag, Karhoo

Image Credit: cpjobs
Image Credit: cpjobs

British serial entrepreneur Daniel Ishag was the man with the Midas touch, and Karhoo was a success story waiting to happen.

The business model carried true promise and the $250million (now proven false) they raised was a prosperous sign.

But within months, Karhoo had burnt off its funding to the point where staff worked 6 weeks without pay. And as soon as investors got wind of the abysmal state they were in, Ishag was removed from his role as CEO.

In January, news arose of their revival, but a quick check on the Google Play Store yields no ‘Karhoo’ sightings.

2. Kelvin Khoo, My Laundry Box

Image Credit: My Laundry Box Facebook
Image Credit: My Laundry Box Facebook

My Laundry Box was riding a popularity wave when out of nowhere, people starting raising alarms about missing clothing.

Some managed to get them back, but any credit they had in their accounts was gone. Attempts to contact the company also revealed disgruntled staff who had been left without salaries.

For somewhere along the way, founder and CEO Kelvin Khoo had simply disappeared.

What’s strange about My Laundry Box is that their Facebook page and website are still running (and hiring).

Meanwhile, on Kelvin Khoo’s LinkedIn, My Laundry Box is also stated as still active.

But where is he now? No one knows, but one thing is clear. When he returns, there’s going to be a price to pay.

3 & 4. Jim Mitchell and Robb Fujioka, Fuhu

Image Credit: incimages
Image Credit: incimages

In January 2016, children’s tablet maker Fuhu was sold to Mattel for $21.5 million. This was despite their valuation at $1 billion.

Once No. 1 on Inc. 500 for 2 consecutive years, behind-the-scenes at Fuhu told a different story.

Fuhu is a tale of how one leader, on a stubborn route to self-destruction, rolled out an ill-thought-out product that never saw market testing. Meanwhile the other leader simply sat by and watched.

The state of the toy company was exacerbated by Fujioka, who was in a word, dictatorial. 

Employees were disallowed at their tables basic office supplies and food. When Christmas decorations were forcibly removed, it stifled the creative culture further in this toy company further.

And in 2016, the once proud house of cards came crashing down.

5. Larissa Yang, Western Co.

Image Credit: sethlui
Image Credit: sethlui

Founded in July 2016 by Larissa Yang, Western Co. is a prime example of how not to run a business.

Following a rave food review, Western Co.’s popularity surged and the brand expanded from a hawker stall to a café.

We’re not sure if fame got to Yang’s head, or if she was simply not prepared to handle the popularity, but service started slipping, and people started complaining.

Things escalated quickly, and within days, the restaurant’s reputation was in shambles.

The Western Co. fiasco showed very clearly that while Yang has a good food sense, she still has a long way to go before she can stand proudly in front of her own brand again.

Meanwhile, Western Co. has already re-opened under new management.

6. Kaneswaran Avili, Nida Rooms

Image Credits: Nidarooms
Image Credits: Nidarooms

Nida Rooms is an Indonesian startup that worked with hotels to provide travellers with high quality budget accommodations.

But like Karhoo, this startup saw a major hiccup over a lack of money.

Despite staff claims they had not been paid for “many months”, and company emails about cash being tight, founder and CEO Avili dismissed everything.

He claims all these is simply jealous talk by startups trying to prevent Nida Rooms from future funding.

Whether  these claims are truly false remains to be seen, but Avili has his work cut out for him to regain company morale.

Having a strong team is an important cornerstone for any business, and what Nida Rooms is made up of, does not bode well for Avili.

7. Edric Subur, Leggo

In a Fortune.com survey, it was polled that 42% of startups fail due to a lack of a market need for their product.

And that was exactly how Subur’s dreams of being amongst the successful entrepreneurs fell through.

Image Credit: Edric Subur Pictaram
Image Credit: Edric Subur Pictaram

He is the co-founder and CEO of Leggo, a messaging app that wanted to solve the headaches behind planning get-togethers on WhatsApp.

However, these headaches did not justify people switching to a new messaging app altogether.

Having quit the company early-2016, Subur reflected that although his app was not bad, it was not great either.

Leggo had a solution, but there simply wasn’t a problem that needed solving.

8. Rahul Yadav, Intelligent Interfaces

Image Credit: officechai
Image Credit: officechai

Rahul Yadav is known as the “bad boy of start-ups”, but he has had a tumultuous career as an entrepreneur.

After being ousted by his own company in 2015, Yadav’s hopes for a government partnership for his new startup, Intelligent Interfaces (II) fell through.

On Facebook, he also worried investors when he updated his status to ‘contemplating leaving entrepreneurship for good’.

All seemed healthy for II when it had secured strong funding early 2016. But months later, the veil was lifted.

Only a fraction of the original team remained, the co-founder had abandoned ship, and Yadav had lost interest in his own company.

In an interview, Yadav claimed that “stupid journalists” had ruined his reputation.

And until they were gone, there would be “no hope” for India.

Featured Image Credits: Media.bizj, Twitter, Inc., hpematter, Seth Lui, yosuccess, Imgrum, YourStory.


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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)