1. Disrupting Craigslist (or eBay)
Hundreds of companies have tried to kill them with vertical and hyper local marketplaces, but no luck. The best quote I heard about this is: Marketplaces are very hard to build, but impossible to die. After millions of dollars wasted, As craigslist seems to be on the decline, but far from being “disrupted”. Yet people try.
Despite more than 5000 dating apps out there, people still try different spins. Most of them fail to take off, but once in awhile there’s a hit (HowAboutWe, Tinder, etc.) and that creates fresh energy and excitement. As Andrew Chen notes:
Dating has a shelf-life
Paid acquisition channels are expensive
City-by-city expansion sucksHard to exit
Demographic mismatch with investors
3. Disrupting Amazon
Hundreds of companies try vertical e-commerce to try and take a slice of Amazon but fail.. As Scott Galloway says:
We believe that pure play retail is going away, that ecommerce companies are either going to open stores or go out of business, and retailers need to be excellent in digital or they will go out of business.
4. Food delivery
The success of some early companies like Grubhub created many food delivery companies, most of them failed. From DineIn:
“Despite us being a bit smaller in order numbers to where Deliveroo were at, we had key restaurant relationships, were growing consistently, great tech but the main driving force was that funds were frightened of the follow on funding rounds required to scale this consumer business and having to compete with the larger funds”.
5. Fashion re-sale
The early wave (Poshmark, Threadflip..) of mobile vertical marketplaces for women's fashion created dozens of companies that raised millions of dollars, but Amazon is threatening them:
"This is an execution business," said Brian O'Malley, a partner at Accel Partners, a venture firm that has invested in Vinted. "They're all competing over that same closet space."
Investors and analysts agree that the competition is too stiff to ensure everyone's survival. The consolidation process has already begun. Bib + Tuck, a resale website funded by fashion entrepreneur Christopher Burch and others, has announced that it's shutting down after being sold to Crossroads, a national store chain. All buying, selling, and cashouts on the site have ended.
"I don't even know if there is going to be one winner," said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research, "This model is never going to take over the world."
6. Photo sharing
I still see a new take on photo sharing, de-duplication, curation... don't know of a single success story other than Instagram.
One of the toughest markets to crack, but hundreds of companies keep trying... direct to consumer, mobile education, a new product for teachers, for schools... only a handful survive(d). Avichal Garg's Why Education Startups Do Not Succeed:
8. Proximity marketing
After Estimote started, hundreds of companies went after (and continue to go after) iBeacon and proximity marketing... hard to get retailers to play...
9. HR / Recruiting
Hundreds of new companies every year... assumption is that talent is a big pain point for companies... but companies are flooded with new products, it's very hard to sell to HR.
Some general failure themes:
This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some startup ideas that frequently fail? Answer by Chandra Kalle, Founder @orangecaffeine, @collegefeed (acquired); Principal Engineer @Symantec.