Unicorns in freefall

Unicorns in freefall

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Had enough of start-up success through failure stories? Then what about start-up catastrophes? Well, we have a chunk of UK dismal performers, courtesy of Beauhurst.

There’s Powa, a British start-up unicorn which developed a payments app that could scan QR codes. It was valued at £1.6bn back in 2014. However, a year later, the company went into administration. There was hubris, of course, as founder Dan Wagner once predicted that Powa would be bigger than Google and Alibaba.

Another unicorn that came crashing to earth was Blippar, a augmented reality and adtech outfit. But sales reached a peak of just £8m in 2016, and at end-2018, the company also went into administration.

Much-despised short-tern loans firm Wonga is also on the list. It managed to pick up around £100m from blue chip investors, but the administration process also claimed it in the summer of 2018, with 200,000 customers still owing £400m in loans.

And Worldstores was at one time the UK’s leading furniture e-commerce platform and was in business for hefty eight years. It never posted a profit, though, and went under in 2016.

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