Almost 2 years ago I told you about
why I was leaving the field of Agile coaching and that I'd be co-founding a start-up called
Very recently we eventually stopped the project
and sold the assets to a company which - among other things - is building software for drug therapy safety.
There are two questions which might be of interest to you:
- Why did we fail?
- What does a failed founder do when he's got no money left for a new start-up venture?
Why did Netdosis fail?
Since there is never a single reason for failure I'll just enumerate a few points that IMO contributed; they sure don't give the full picture. First of all, our idea did not scale to millions of users but only to some tenths of thousands, or maybe hundreds of thousands (if we consider the international market). This resulted in a business plan in which the projected numbers were just one magnitude too small to make any serious investor interested - we had exactly zero investment negotiations. The other context-related issue is the medical domain itself: The German health system is a perfect mess of lobbyism, over-regulation, conservatism and ego-centric medical directors. Innovative ideas just don't play a role there and one needs really good connections and a sky-high frustration tolerance to get a foot in the door.
But we've also made lots of mistakes on our way:
- It took us many months to realise that our most important collaboration partner had no real interest in selling but was mainly scientifically interested
- We waited much too long before getting a medical expert who was on our side
- We tried to ignore the differences among us founders, which in the end led to the premature exit of one founder
So I still don't know if there would have been a way to success but I'm positive there would have been a faster way to fail. I personally spent a very good 15 months of doing almost exclusively technical work. The only thing I regret is the amount of money we spent on lawyers and similar folks.
What will I do now?
When in early 2013 it became clear that Netdosis would never earn my and my family's keep I rebooted my consulting business and found a few new clients who pay me for technical help and training. Having been very explicit about never going back to Agile Coaching I've been trying to do things differently. If you come to GOTO Berlin or XP Days Germany you'll hear me talk about the changes I've tried. See you there?