Why software startups fail

Founder, robot with feelings. From planet Aiur.

Some insights on how testing and documentation can make or break software companies and how Archbee Wiki can help.

Found this Tweet from Jason Lemkin, an investor I follow and admire.

Document image

I found it very interesting, but I had a small derivation from it in my mind so I rewrote it. Here it is.

Let’s face it.

Eventually, all teams slow down.

Too much debt, too much to rebuild, too many workflows, too many customers, too many bugs, too much everything...But some teams are stellar and slow down only to a point that is acceptable for the continued development of a product and a business.

You have heard about unicorns and decacorns. Yes, we all love their stories. They are very rarely below 10 year stories. This is why I am willing to bet they have all the issues above, but they still continue and push forward.

How do they do it?

I don’t have the full answer. What I do know is they practice software development the right way. They do unit testing, integration testing, e2e testing.

They do it without asking management for time to do it.

They document everything and knowledge share whenever they can.

They write down stuff for the future because they are convinced there is one or they are convinced they can make it happen.

They do it because it is in their nature as software crafters.

How is your team building software? Statistics say you are doing it the wrong way.

You might say:

Dragos, most startups fail not because of technical reasons. Founders split, they don’t find product market fit or they run out of funding, etc.


Most fail because they don’t ship fast enough.

They are too slow to talk to customers, to bug fix, to update their product, to catch-up to competitors or even newcomers to their market.

This happens even with tens or hundreds of engineers on the payroll.

They slow down to unacceptable levels, and they lose.

Heck, they lose to themselves because at that point they feel there is nothing they can do to turn it around.

It's as simple as that.

What can you do to make yours succeed?

Do the things nobody wants to do.

Automate your testing, speed up your deployment process, write down and document everything, share the knowledge every chance you get.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the author of the content admiring?
Expand FAQ
The author admires Jason Lemkin, an investor.
What kind of businesses does the author discuss?
Expand Button
The author discusses software development businesses, including successful ones identified as unicorns and decacorns.
What are the issues that successful software development teams face, according to the author?
Expand Button
Successful teams face issues like too much debt, too much to rebuild, too many workflows, customers, bugs, and overall workload. However, these teams continue to push forward despite these issues.
What does the author believe leads to most startup failures?
Expand Button
The author believes that most startups fail because they do not ship fast enough. They are too slow to talk to customers, fix bugs, update their product, or keep up with competitors, even with many engineers on staff.
What does the author suggest for software development teams to succeed?
Expand Button
The author suggests that teams practice proper software development, document everything, share knowledge, automate testing, speed up deployment processes, and other tasks that might often be overlooked or avoided.

📖 Table of contents

Answer questions instantly

Create and share documentation that answers questions instantly with Gen AI

Discover Archbee

Receive documentation and technical writing tips & trends — our newsletter

Join 5000+ people from around the world that receive a monthly edition of the Archbee Blog Newsletter.


Knowledge Management