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Unicorn Tears by Jamie Pride

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CHAPTER 1COUNTING THE COST

More than 100 million startups are founded every year (that’s about three every second), but 92 per cent of them will fail within three years — and the crazy thing is that this is largely preventable.

Just think about that for a second. In any other area of your business or personal life, if 92 times out of 100 a course of action didn’t work, you’d think of doing something quite different. Yet in the startup world these high failure rates are accepted with a shrug, because ‘that’s how it is’. Why?

This book aims to challenge that acceptance. Failure shouldn’t be the natural way of things.

We need to study startup failure more closely to understand why it happens. That’s what struck me when I started investing in startups. If we can better understand why and how startups fail, then we can increase the chances of their success. By learning from others’ mistakes, we can ensure we don’t repeat them. If we can move the needle to decrease the failure rate by just a small amount, it will have a huge impact — both to the founders who put their heart and soul into their startups and to the investors who back them.

Paul Graham, the respected venture capitalist and co-founder of Y Combinator, distinguishes between startups that are default dead (if they maintain their current trajectory on sales, growth rates, expenses, they will run out of cash) and those that are default alive. The reality is that most startups, especially in the early stages, are default dead. ...

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