Painful to read

| November 21, 2007

InsideCRM has a list of the 20 Worst Capital Investments of All Time. As someone who actually helped successfully raise venture capital for a software startup — a total of $7 million, which lasted us for five years — it hurts to see the vast sums squandered on some of these companies:

Pets.com: This icon of the dot-com bubble died out in November of 2000, going from a listing in NASDAQ to liquidation in just nine short months. The site sold pet supplies and accessories online. Once backed with $50 million by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Bowman Capital, and Amazon.com Inc., Pets.com had promise and even bought out competitor Petstore.com. But in the end, its stock bottomed out at 19 cents per share. Remembered for its sock-puppet ads, the expense of its $1.2 million Super Bowl ad, as well as large infrastructure investments, proved to be too much. Pets.com’s sock puppet lives on as the icon of BarNone Inc.

Incidentally, I still have a Pets.com sock puppet, which I keep in my office as a reminder of the dot.com lunacy. ..bruce w..

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Category: Economics, Information Technology, Main, Pitfalls, Project Management

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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