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Make It or Break It: Why Hot Startups Fail

Many entrepreneurs are at the "make it or break it" point right now. By year four or five, you’re no longer a hot startup; you’re a business that investors expect to make money and break out – or get gone. (Hello Google/Facebook acq-hire.) We'll talk to entrepreneurs who have been there and the investors who fund them about what companies are at the tipping point, and what the secret sauce is that lets some ventures thrive while others collapse. Expect war stories.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What makes or breaks an entrepreneur? We'll talk to investors and entrepreneurs about some of the biggest successes and failure and the factors that led them there. We'll talk about which companies have been the most successful and which startups that had buzz seem to have fallen off the radar over the past year.
  2. Square and Foursquare are at that "make it or break it" point. We'll ask panelists the factors that bring companies past this point and on track towards IPO. Which companies will make it and which won't? We'll ask for candid answers.
  3. Foursquare and Square – these are two huge startups our panelists have left. Why’d they leave and what were their experiences working at small startups that transitioned to larger companies? We'll get war stories from the inside.
  4. When does it make sense for a company to change its mission or product significantly in order to differentiate or meet investor demands?
  5. How do you scale? When a company goes from someone's living room to a large office, what cultural changes need to happen to ensure success? We've seen this with Airbnb and others who have to quickly adapt to a larger company culture and infrastructure.



Laurie Segall, Tech reporter, CNNMoney

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