Last week, I announced that I was shutting down my startup, Pitch’n.
After almost a year of pursuing the rollercoaster ride that is running a startup, I decided that it was time to call it quits. The decision didn’t come easily but I feel it was for the best. The experience gained from Pitch’n has been invaluable and the people I have met are amazing.
After announcing the news, I have been overwhelmed from the emails and responses from the community. Vancouver really is an amazing place to try and start a company and I am grateful to be among such a supportive group of people and other awesome entrepreneurs.
Since the response to my letter has been so strong, I thought I would also share it here since the Pitch’n website will be going down at the end of May. If you have any comments or perhaps you have failed or are currently struggling in your own startup, leave a comment below. We are all in this adventure together to learn and grow.
I hope others are able to do better than I did but in the meantime I look forward to applying my experience to the next adventure #mdash; whatever that may be.
May 9, 2014 Announcement:
When we started Pitch’n, we were very new to the startup scene and it’s been an amazing learning experience since. We are fortunate to live in the Vancouver community where entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity run wild in the streets. As we approach our first year anniversary, it’s great to look back at where we’ve come, all the people we’ve met and/or helped, and the lessons we’ve learned. Unfortunately, our one year anniversary on May 31 will also be our closing date.
It has been an amazing journey.
One with ups and downs, exciting moments and tense moments. It has been everything I expected running a startup would be and more. However, as many startups in the world are aware, there is also failure.
But you want to know something about failure? Failure is beautiful.
Many people may be surprised by this since we are raised in a society where you need to succeed. You must succeed. Failing though, can be a humbling experience and one that I think everyone needs to go through. It gives you a chance to take a step back from the pressures and stresses of work, evaluate yourself, and learn what you can improve on for next time – because you know what? There will be a next time and you’ll be stronger for it.
Pitch’n was (and still is) a great idea. We had some great support but in the end we failed to make the revenues we needed to keep the doors open and I personally failed to build up a team to make the vision a reality. We had our own roadblocks and hurdles but trying to run a bootstrapped company is a very difficult endeavor. Lessons were learned and I am now stronger for it.
While Pitch’n may be shutting down, I still believe in the vision I had for it and hope that one day it can still become a reality — even if I’m not the one at the helm. Looking back, I’ve learned so much and know how I would tackle things differently in the future. However, I have no regrets about what we did or how things have unfolded. The last year of my life and thousands of countless hours worth of work have paved a great road for the journey ahead and provided the experience needed to help make the next opportunity that much more likely to succeed.
Pitch’n will remain up until May 31. After that, the website will be taken down and communications ended. This includes all the @pitchn.ca emails. If you need to get in touch with me in the future, I’m always available on Twitter@sean_kennedy.
I can’t explain how much I appreciate the team who have helped bring Pitch’n to life. The team was formed from mostly strangers with a passion to do something great. We now leave with our new friendships and look for our next opportunities. Most have already shifted their focus to other projects or companies they were also working on and I wish them all the best of luck. I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as I did.
For myself, I’ll be spending more time doing freelance work in order to rebuild the bank account and also looking for my next big adventure in another startup or company. My focus is also being put onto the startup community to give back the support it gave me. I’ve taken on a number of volunteer roles including to co-organize the next Startup Weekend Vancouver (which is fitting since it’s where Pitch’n started). I will also continue to help manage Vancouver Startup Employment Opportunities (VSEO) and I’ve also just volunteered to manage email marketing for TEDxVancouver. Yup, I’m a workaholic — I know.
I’m excited about the road ahead and look forward to future opportunities and connecting with more people in the community.
This email wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging all the people who have been by our side and supporting us throughout our journey. There were many times where the support from volunteers, members, and the community were the motivation we needed to keep going and I am extremely thankful for that. Again, thank you to all those who helped give us a shot and provided valuable feedback and support.
To all those non-profits doing good in the world, keep doing what you’re doing but just remember there is lots of support available and you just need to ask. Seeing the number of professionals looking to donate their skills with Pitch’n was proof of that.
I’ll end with a famous quote that I think is fitting for the situation:
Life is not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.
— Rocky Balboa
Thanks again to everyone and I hope to connect again in the future.
Founder & CEO