The sin of a startup, pivot or fail to pivot?

CBinsights boiled down the 20 sins for startup failure and the top one is “No Market Need“, or in a more elaborate way “…didn’t have a technology or business model that solved a pain point in a scalable way…”

 

One year ago, we identified a Chinese company Kaipule which had been aspiring to build a powerful database of Israeli startups, combining the features of StartupNation Central and Zirra. The prescient conclusion for Kaipule back then was “The problem remains how to fully monetize its business model”(see our Link). It turns out the company struggled.

Chinese investors’ serious interests in Israeli technology sector kicked off in 2016 and has been growing ever since. Although Kaipule intended to ride the crest of this wave, unfortunately, there has been not much market demand for a paid database and customized report services. The number 1 sin for a startup failure.

The only hope now for Kaipule is pivoting the business model to organize learning trips for Chinese corporations visiting Israel and related startups. Its database and startup analysis offers are packaged into the learning trips. Big local corporations might not be keen on throwing money purely into startup research intelligence, but they actually have the budget to spend on overseas trips and expeditions, just for the sake of getting inspired by Israeli innovations, even though quite often not ended up with any fruitful outcomes.

The pivot does not catapult Kaipule into a unique selling point as many other competitive rivals are also dancing around. However, Kaipule CEO told he is confident about becoming the market share leader in this niche vertical due to his profound network with big corporations and major MBA schools. He is also partnering with a Beijing based co-working space DayDayUp which also powers a cross-border Israeli accelerator program in China. Basically, DayDayUp promotes the events of Israeli business trips while Kaipule runs the backend operation.

If the pivot of Kaiuple goes bad, the future of Kaipule again will hang in the balance. The #13 sin on the list.

When a startup’s original vision fails to materialize, it is allowed to pivot once. But pivot does not always mean a good idea. Being married with a bad idea a second time can push a startup into demise at a much faster speed.

By: Cecilia Wu