@eringriffith | 56,913 followers
The perfect coda to the Age of Unicorns:

A YC-backed scooter startup called Unicorn spent all its investor money on Facebook ads, delivered zero of its 350 orders and is shutting down with no refunds.

CEO is "so, so very sorry."


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Total of 55 replies and 132 quotes found
In reply to @eringriffith
on the bright side, some FB sales rep just hit their bonus
In reply to @eringriffith
Looking forward to a surge of VC tweets defending the company and calling this a non-story
In reply to @eringriffith
On the bright side, there will be no Unicorn scooters lying unattended on the streets.
Somebody here needs to go to jail. I'm not even picky about who—surprise me!
white dudes continue to fail up while the rest of us gotta be more than perfect to get a fraction of the resources. wild.
Oops! It was an accident, I swear.
YC backed a *not even the first scooter brand*? But they rejected @drinkhaus?

Makes sense why @helena is thriving now!!!
I hope it was an incredible journey
And because it's tech, nobody will go to jail. Hell, odds are no one will even be fined. Or see any real impact on their career.
In reply to @eringriffith
Has the idea of "create a (good) product before you sell it" completely gone out of style? Ads are not a business model unless you are being paid to run them.
In reply to @eringriffith
Yep, must’ve been those pesky Facebook and Google ads that caused everything. <whistles and walks quietly out of the room>
In reply to @eringriffith
""a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is"
Si es que ya el nombre lo decía todo... 🤦‍♂️
In reply to @eringriffith
Four questions: 1. How did this get into Ycombinator? 2. How did it get funded with bad unit economics? 3. How did it get funded with a plan to use all capital on FB ads? 4. How did it get funded with no marketing other than fb ads? Why did investors invest here in the 1st place?
while I'm here bursting my brain. Lmao. @asemota. pic.twitter.com/4XVBkkes2I
In reply to @eringriffith
350 scooters at $600 is $210,000...they can’t find that money literally anywhere?
El mercado, ese perfecto asignador de recursos.
In reply to @eringriffith
I doubt anyone looked at the business model, path to profitability, or much less the marketing strategy where they clearly overspent. this is another typical case of bros funding bros. Friends backing friends. Ponzi Scheme gone wrong....
This is a reminder to startups FACEBOOK ADS ≠ VALIDATION. To validate -> Step 1) talk to customers Step 2) talk to more customers Step 3) keep taking to customers. If no one is intrested, you either have the wrong solution, wrong customer, or are solving the wrong problem.
Late-stage capitalism makes satire impossible.
In reply to @eringriffith
How the F does something like this come out of YC? If this doesn't doom the YC model, I give up. This is an age of illusions.
Yet women and especially black women with successful businesses continue to struggle to get funded.
In reply to @eringriffith
So they couldn’t source 350 scooters for like $150 each from a manufacturing company in China? That would be $52,500. Seems like there’s more than just poor execution here, more like they just didn’t give a crap!
In reply to @eringriffith
Probably because anyone wanting a Unicorn scooter can snag one at @target life just $35! Why pay $699? target.com/p/sakar-unicor…
In reply to @eringriffith
They couldn't put $250K of their money aside in escrow to cater for the refunds?? That is only around 7% of what they raised. 🤔
I guess the founding team bailed on “delight the customer” day at @ycombinator?
All of this is too good. The name, the vaporware, the ad spending - it’s all perfect. Maybe it’s another piece performance art to rival that banana
Pour one out for the credit card processors who’ll end up eating most of this.
Not just failure. Total failure.

That's the kind of superlative performance that leads to another startup gig, amirite?
In reply to @eringriffith
I really hope this doesn't backlash on products launching on crowdfunding platforms that needs the money + can execute. Stories like this destroys consumer trust and startup credibility (not aiming at the reporting but the startup itself). $700 is too much not to refund
In reply to @eringriffith
Who knew you actually need to supply a product? 😂
Sadly, I only discovered this Blippi video clip last week (it could have been epoch defining): pic.twitter.com/Qx0VAGBtbW
In reply to @eringriffith
A startup in the e-scooter space with 24 employees? Boosted Board, an extremely established company in the space only has 20 staff. Many expensive mistakes were made here.
This is what happens when everything is tech and no one is asking reasonable governance questions.
Not real Valley people, basically New Yorkers, I'm sure.
Honestly I’ve been doing it wrong forever, huh?
In reply to @eringriffith
350 x $700 = $245,000. You telling me this tech CEO bitch doesn't have that money personally?
The red flag is they didn't even bother to come up with a proper name
These scooters are nuisance.
when marketing gets into your head
In reply to @eringriffith
Privatise the profits, socialise the losses 👏👏👏👏

(i mean, right? i feel like we're getting punked here somehow.)
What? Facebook ads don't work? What? So surprised.
Would love to see how much they actually spent on fb ads and what ads they were running.
I'm tired.
Scoots away in shame...
A reminder that Facebook ads can destroy your budget because your dollars are competing with these garbage fires. Manage your marketing funnel wisely or get wrecked.

internet ad numbers are false... the metrics are nonsense and its all a big house of cards filled with lies...
In reply to @eringriffith
What if the investors were also employees and they just wanted a really fun time on a tax break?
In reply to @eringriffith
I’m guessing not one Board meeting in which any of these issues would have come to light? Or just plain fraud?
In reply to @eringriffith
These are the kinds of stories that made me say fuck it and decide to launch my start up. I can do so, so, SO much better
In reply to @eringriffith
Did they speak to the Saudis?
In reply to @eringriffith
The ghost of Boo.com refuses to die. Burn rate still seems to be a thing.
In reply to @eringriffith
I guess MZ is smiling to the bank
In reply to @eringriffith
See "fake it till you make it" for more details.
Meanwhile, you can get a $148 scooter that goes 14 mph for 14 miles today at Walmart dot com. That’s good enough for most people.
Don't hire their paid media guy or girl, but probably a bro
Advertising based engagement with markets being deeply co-mingled with our social interaction spaces might link our social health with our market health in ways that will inhibit our ability to recover from harsh impacts to either.
I'm sorry Wall Banana, yours was a good effort
In reply to @brianoji
Yep - otherwise you can end up with things like this
its funny since YC makes a big point about admitting only people who "build something people want"
White gonna white...also, why aren't nonprofits funded this way?
"Customers are advised to contact their credit card companies and dispute the charges from Unicorn."

I swear... Chad just keeps getting away with stuff...
Cost of user acquisition on Facebook is too expensive to make a profit on $700 scooter. 🤔
I work with a lot of people who think there is no VC bubble
This is funny. And sad. And funny at the same time.
There's something real fishy with this @unicorn_rides bit. Background if you need:

A thread 1/n
In reply to @eringriffith
I thought you wrote perfect yoda
In reply to @eringriffith
If justice or morality were reflected in the law, Nick Evans would be personally liable for the debts of the corporation.
In reply to @eringriffith
oh. this isn't over yet...
In reply to @eringriffith
Jeez, dude, stick a crowbar in your wallet and gives these people their money back!
In reply to @eringriffith
A “not so fast” follower?
In reply to @eringriffith
There’s at least two scooters in the photo!
In reply to @eringriffith
Yet another ridiculous story from the world of vulture capital.
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