Rather than lamenting the death of their company, a team of startup founders is drawing valuable lessons from their entrepreneurial experience and forging ahead.
Kansas City-based Knoda — which created a social platform allowing users to make, track and rank various predictions — recently announced to users that it was going to shut down operations.
“It’s super hard — it’s your baby,” Knoda co-founder Kyle Rogers said. “That’s just the logical business side of it, let alone the emotional side of something that you put a lot of effort into and, in our case, talked about for years. It’s super difficult.”
Founded in 2013, Knoda (pronounced no-duh) at one point employed six people in the area and successfully secured funding from a variety of investors. The company raised about $427,000 for its web- and mobile-based prediction platform, Rogers said.
Ultimately, Rogers said that the funding well went dry and the team— along with his co-founder James Flexman — decided to call kaput on Knoda.
“We were out in the marketplace looking to raise (funds) and frankly we weren’t growing fast enough as a consumer play to merit further investment based on the current plan,” he said. “We sat down and took a hard look at everything we were doing, what we tried to date, our thoughts for the future and eventually we decided that —based on what we had seen and the things that hadn’t gone the way we hoped or expected — we weren’t going to pursue an additional round of funding.”
Rogers said the Knoda team is now figuring out its legal obligations to investors. He added that there are no hard feelings among the team, investors or other stakeholders, and that all parties are proud of their effort.
While difficult to see Knoda close, Rogers said he’s happy he dreamed big. The business lessons, he added, have been valuable.
“There’s definitely no regret — the only regrets are in the minutia,” he said. “You can look back and wish you would’ve tried things differently, but in terms of the entire experience, certainly no regrets of going for it. And no regrets of bringing on the team we brought on or working with the people we did. … There have been a ton of lessons that I know are already helping me in my current situation and I think the rest of the team would say the same.”
Rogers now is working at Kansas City-based VML as a senior social media strategist. He said that others in the Knoda team also quickly found work around the country.
Rogers said that although his company didn’t take off, he encourages others to consider Kansas City for their startup.
“The Kansas City community is amazing in many ways, but especially for startup companies,” Rogers said. “Kansas City is a great place to do that. We have our challenges — every market does — but there are a lot of people willing to help and that’s a good thing. … We’re super appreciative of everything.”