Sometimes start-ups change the world. Sometimes they give us a ‘smart toaster’.
Wi-fi connected juice machine start-up Juicero, AKA ‘everything that’s wrong with Silicon Valley’, raised some $120 million (£92m) before closing its doors 11 months after launch. Apparently the failure of the world’s first $399 juicer brand had something to do with the fact that the fruit and veg pouches could be squeezed by hand to much the same effect.
Nokia Kerastase Hair Coach
The Nokia Kerastase Hair Coach is a $199 ‘smart hair brush’ that ‘listens to your hair with a microphone’ – which basically tells you all you need to know. We know its 2017, but I’m pretty sure it’s still possible to brush your hair without help from data.
Anonymous social network Yik Yak raised more than $73.5m in venture capital funding and gained popularity on college campuses across the U.S. before school-wide bans and sliding user numbers led to its closure. Turns out anonymised messaging and aggressive college students aren’t always a match made in heaven.
The electric-car start-up once hailed as a competitor to Tesla is in major trouble. The company is more than $400m in debt (with a 12% interest charge), which will come due in December if it fails to raise half a billion dollars in a Series A round. On top of that, the company’s lead designer has quit and it is reported that some employees have simply stopped showing up for work.
Griffin Connected Toaster
It’s 2017, so someone made a ‘smart toaster’. The $100 Griffin Connected Toaster has a Bluetooth radio and a smartphone app to set the toast setting you’re craving. Seriously.
It’s getting hard to count the ways Uber’s messed up this year. Google parent company Alphabet has accused it of stealing its trade secrets on driverless car technology from its subsidiary Waymo. It lost its operating licence in London after a public spat with regulators. Its been accused of delaying disclousure to regulators, consumers and drivers that hackers had stolen data on 57 million user accounts. Its been accused of secretly paying off the hackers to destroy that data. Its been accused of efforts to train employees to shield “unlawful schemes” from regulators. Its reputation is plummeting. All in all, not a great year for the ride-share giant.
Jawbone’s fitness trackers were some of the first of their kind on the market, and the start-up was valued at more than $3 billion before going bust in June. It seems that all the money in Silicon Valley couldn’t save this start-up.