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Kick the bucket: VC-backed startups that have shuttered in 2017

While Snap and MuleSoft celebrated going public by ringing the NYSE bell this year, other venture-backed startups were laid to rest with little fanfare.

VCJ looked at some of the more notable passings of U.S.-based startups in the first half of the year, which raised a combined $1.27 billion in venture capital before closing down.

Although the companies that died came from a range of sectors—such as cryptocurrencies, food delivery and drone tech—some of the busts stood out for their high valuations a few years before their demise. Consumer wearable tech company Jawbone, for example, was valued at $3.3 billion in 2014. Used car marketplace Beepi aimed for a $2 billion valuation in 2015.

Mobile app search company Quixey was an emerging unicorn in 2015, when it was valued at $600 million.

  • In June, Jawbone began liquidation proceedings, after raising $591 million in funding from investors Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake Partners since its founding in 1998.
  • Mountain View, California-based Beepi, founded in 2013, closed shop in February after raising $149 million from Foundation Capital, Redpoint Ventures, SVB Capital and Sherpa Ventures, according to data from Thomson Reuters and CrunchBase.
  • Quixey, which billed itself as “the search engine for apps,” raised $165 million, including $30 million in debt financing, mostly from Alibaba before closing in February. Other investors included Atlantic Bridge, GGV Capital and U.S. Venture Partners.
  • In April, the Atlanta-based anonymous messaging gossip app Yik Yak announced it would shut down, after raising more than $71 million in funding from DCM Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Azure Capital Partners, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Yik Yak’s engineering team was reportedly sold to payments company Square for less than $3 million, according to Bloomberg.
  • May was particularly grim for meal delivery services. Sprig, a meal-delivery service based in San Francisco, closed down that month after raising $56.7 million from 500 Startups, Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners and Social Capital.
  • Maple, another startup in the food delivery space and which aimed to deliver chef-prepared office lunches, also shuttered after raising $29 million from Thrive Capital and Greenoaks Capital.
  • Other well-funded startups to close shop this year include drone camera company Lily Robotics, which shut down in January after raising $15 million from Spark Capital, SV Angel and First Round Capital.
  • Hello, maker of sleep tracker Sense, said goodby and closed in June after raising $40.51 from Temasek Holdings, Acequia Capital and Cherubic Investors.
  • Luxe closed its door-to-door valet service in April after raising $75.5 million in total funding from investors, including Foundation Capital, Data Collective, GV, Upfront Ventures and others. At the time, the company said it would launch a new service this summer, which has yet to be announced. Zirx, Luxe’s one-time competitor in the on-demand valet sector, rebranded as Stratim in 2016 to offer mobility car services for companies.
  • AudienceScience, which raised $69 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Integral Capital Partners and Meritech Capital Partners, closed in June after losing Proctor and Gamble as a client.
  • And despite the current hype surrounding digital tokens, at least one cryptocurrency-based startup backed by VC funding has already closed shop. BTCJam, which allowed users to borrow and invest bitcoin, closed in May after raising $9.21 million from 500 Startups, Foundation Capital and FundersClub.

If there’s another notable startup death from 2017 that we missed, don’t hesitate to reach out to kbartley@buyoutsinsider.com.

Photo of business person lying on floor under whiteboard courtesy of Ryan McVay/iStock/Getty Images