Why most Startups fail?

By Remitbee - Mar 18, 2024

What are Startups?

A Startup usually refers to a company in its early stages, often focused on a single product or service. They rely heavily on the founder, investors and venture capitalists for capital.

A supportive environment coupled with a strong venture capitalist community is a non-negotiable for the success of a Startup. Thus, a majority tend to originate from startup hubs around the world, a prominent example being the Silicon Valley.

The Rise of Startups

The rise of Startups owes a lot to a growing digitalization and a digital economy that was accelerated by the restrictive conditions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results have revolutionized business communications, operations and service delivery, with the World Economic Forum estimating that over 70% of all new value created over the next decade will be based on the digital business model, dominated by Startups.

However, the boom in Startups also comes at a cost. The rising competition in a saturated market leaves only a slim chance for success. According to Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, 90% of startups completely failed since the pandemic, and only 1.5% successfully exited at over $50 million valuation across the top eight US startup ecosystems.

Canada and Startups

The last Doing Business 2020 report from the World Bank Group, which measures business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies, ranked Canada 23rd overall, with indicators ranging from the ease of Starting a new Business to dealing with construction permits, getting credit, electricity, paying taxes and enforcing contracts among other things.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2023, published by Startup Genome, ranked Toronto-Waterloo 17th in its Global Startup Ecosystem ranking for 2019-2023.

It was Canada's leading Startup ecosystem with a 54% growth in exits over $50 million, with examples including the video-management system Rumble exiting in a $3.85 billion IPO. The number of unicorn startups- valued at over $1 billion increased to 14.

Vancouver and Montreal ranked 30 and 40, respectively, making them Canada's second and third-highest-ranked ecosystems.

39 Canadian cities were also featured in StartupBlink's top 1000 cities for startups. The highest ranked was Toronto at 23rd, followed by Vancouver at 41st and Ottawa at 68th.

Common reasons why Startups fail

Most startups fail due to a combination of various factors. Here are some common reasons:

  • Lack of Financing or Investors: A Startup requires investors to buy into the vision and contribute with financing. It's common for Startup ideas to falter due to the lack of financial support. A survey by Skynova showed that 47% of all startup failures in 2022 could be attributed to a lack of financing.

  • Running Out of Cash: Cash flow problems can quickly sink a startup. Many startups fail because they underestimate how much capital they need to reach profitability or secure additional funding. The same survey showed that in 2022, the lack of proper financial planning was responsible for the failure of over 44% of new businesses.

  • Lack of Market Demand: One of the primary reasons for startup failure is building a product or service for which there is insufficient demand. Startups often fail to adequately validate their ideas before investing significant resources.

  • Poor Management Team: Incompetent or inexperienced leadership can lead to strategic errors, operational inefficiencies, and failure to adapt to changing market conditions.

  • Failure to Pivot: Startups need to be agile and willing to pivot their business model, product, or strategy based on customer feedback and market dynamics. Failure to pivot when necessary can result in obsolescence.

  • Strong Competition: Startups often underestimate the competition or fail to differentiate themselves effectively in crowded markets, leading to difficulty in acquiring customers and achieving sustainable growth.

  • Product-Market Fit Issues: Even if a startup has a good idea, it may struggle to find the right product-market fit –creating a product that satisfies a strong market demand.

  • Legal and Regulatory Challenges: Failure to comply with regulations or legal issues can severely hinder a startup's ability to operate or scale.

  • Poor Marketing and Sales Execution: Even with a great product, startups can fail if they cannot market and sell it effectively to their target audience.

  • Founder Disagreements: Co-founder conflicts or disagreements over the company's direction can lead to dysfunction and, ultimately, the startup's failure.

  • External Factors: Economic downturns, changes in industry regulations, unexpected market shifts or global events can all contribute to the failure of startups, even those with solid fundamentals—an example being the COVID-19 pandemic.


In conclusion, the journey of a startup is fraught with challenges, with high chances of failure. However, understanding the common reasons for startup failure can serve as a guide for aspiring entrepreneurs to navigate the treacherous waters of launching a new venture. By prioritizing market validation, prudent financial management, strong leadership, and adaptability, startups can increase their chances of success.