The Indian startup ecosystem has seen remarkable growth in the past few years emerging as a beacon of innovation, transformative ventures and big ideas, capturing the attention of global investors, industry leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs.
From the bustling streets of Bengaluru, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India, to the startup hubs in Delhi and Mumbai, startups are mushrooming across diverse sectors, challenging conventional norms and rewriting business rules.
However, the year 2023 witnessed a rollercoaster of breakthroughs, challenges, and even shutdowns of some startups. And here are some of the most promising startups that shut down in 2023; like ZestMoney, FrontRow, Akudo and DUX Education.
Startups That Shut Down in 2023
FrontRow, a hobby learning platform featuring celebrities, shut down its operations in July 2023 due to difficulties in finding a viable market for its product.
Founded in 2020 by Ishaan Preet Singh, Mikhil Raj, and Shubhadit Sharma, FrontRow sought to build a community of learners where popular artists and celebrities taught their crafts to people.
After securing a total funding of around $18 million and trying to make a VC-scalable product for three years, they finally ceased their operations after learning the small market size for hobby learning in India. They even returned the remaining funding capital to its investors.
ZestMoney, founded by Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma and Ashish Anantharaman in 2015, is a BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) lending fintech that allows its users to pay back in EMIs (Equated Monthly Installments).
Once valued at $445 million, ZestMoney is shutting down its operations by December-end. Its downfall started after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released new guidelines for BNPL companies in June 2022, followed by its founders quitting the startup in May this year when acquisition talks with PhonePe didn’t become fruitful.
Anar, a B2B networking platform founded by Nishank Jain and Sanjay Bhatt, shut down in November 2023 returning the remaining capital to its investors.
Anar business app used to connect manufactures, wholesalers, retailers and resellers across the value chain of small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Belora Cosmetics, a Gurugram-based clean beauty brand, shut down in October 2023 due to a lack of funding and not getting potential buyers. It used to manufacture long-lasting, toxin-free, and certified vegan products.
Bluepad, a vernacular content platform founded in 2020 by Sanjyot Bhosale, Devakrishna Asokar, and Kishore Garimella, shut down this year as they couldn’t envision a need for the product.
It allowed users to post their own written content such as blogs, poems, stories, and experiences in Indian vernacular languages and form communities with like-minded people.
ConnectedH, a full-stack B2B health-tech startup founded in 2018 by Subham Gupta, Rahul Kumar, and Suresh Singh, shut down around July 2023 stating that it would return the remaining capital to its investors.
It used to offer CRM solutions and tools for diagnostic labs helping them extend options for online booking and reports.
Edtech startup DUX Education shut down its operations in April 2023 due to a lack of funding. Founded in 2020 by Rohit Jain and Udit Chaturvedi, DUX Education was an online live tutoring platform for K-12 students.
Friyey was a co-working space provider that shut down in July this year due to a funding crunch, rising expenses and a lack of constant demand from the customer side.
Founded by Yogesh Thore in 2019, the Pune-based startup used a unique approach to turn restaurants and clubs into coworking spaces in the morning houses.
OSlash, a B2B SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) startup, wrapped up operations in November 2023 after running the company for three years.
Founded in 2020 by Ankit Pansari and Shoaib Khan, OSlash offered plug-and-play AI copilots for software, teams, and individuals for easy workflow automation. Now, it’s available in open source and free forever.
FanTok, a real money gaming app, halted its operations in August 2023 after the imposition of a 28% GST (Goods and Services Tax) on online real-money games.
It was a creator-led social gaming platform for real money binary prediction games hosted by social media creators on short videos.
Fipola was an online meat retail company that ceased its operations in February 2023 as it was unable to raise further funding.
Founded in 2016 by Sushil Kanugolu, the Chennai-based D2C startup had not paid dues to vendors and delivery partners and in a way it was somewhat forced to shut down its business.
Flint Money was a crypto investment app launched by Flint Labs that was discontinued amid regulatory challenges and unfavourable market conditions.
Later, the Bengaluru-based crypto startup launched GasPay which is a Web3 solution to pay gas fees in any token.
Akudo, a neo-banking platform for teenagers, is shutting down its operations at the end of this year. Founded in 2020 by Lavika Aggarwal, Sajal Khanna and Jagveer Gandhi, Akudo provided personalised prepaid debit cards to teens which could be managed by the parents.
LazyCard was a prepaid payment instrument and BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) card service launched by PayU India in 2022 which was shut down for profitability reasons.
The company still operates LazyPay, its personal loan and BNPL service for merchant checkout and utility bill payments.
Mojocare, a health and wellness startup providing solutions across sexual wellness, haircare, weight management, mental health and women’s wellness, shut down amidst alleged financial irregularities.
Founded in 2021 by Rajat Gupta and Ashwin Swaminathan, the company’s board decided to cease operations and return the remaining money to its investors.
PenCircle was a fan patronage startup like Patreon where creators could give exclusive benefits to their top patrons and patrons could build a personal connection with their favourite creators. It shut down around June 2023 due to not getting enough demand for the product.
Crypto startup Pillow shut down its operations in June 2023 due to regulatory uncertainties. Founded in 2021 by Arindam Roy, Rajath KM, and Kartik Mishra, Pillow allowed its users to invest, save and trade in multiple cryptocurrencies.
Quizy, a real money gaming platform shut down in August 2023 after the imposition of 28% GST on online gaming platforms.
Founded in 2021 by Sachin Yadav and Amit Kumar, Quizy was a real money game where people learn about the latest news and trends through quizzes and earn money by playing games.
StreamAnchor was a community monetization platform which offered tools to build an online academy for creators and educators. It tried hard to make online teaching easier for tutors but shut down due to less demand for the product.
Handpicked, a premium grocery delivery service launched by the food delivery giant Swiggy, shut down in April this year after being piloted in certain areas of Bengaluru. It was an attempt at delivering only premium grocery items, but was not sustainable and it was shut down to reduce the company’s overall costs.
Tiki, a short-form video app like TikTok that was launched just after TikTok’s ban in 2020, ceased its operations in India in July this year despite having around 35 million monthly active users.
Vah Vah, a vocational training startup offering professional courses in makeup and hair styling, shut down in July 2023 due to a funding crunch and was unable to find a sustainable business model.
WeTrade, a crypto startup aimed at making crypto trading easy and rewarding, shut down operations in February 2023 amid the funding winter and uncertainties in the crypto market.