It's always a bit sad to see a heavily venture capital-backed startup sink below the waves, but that's precisely what happened this week to hapless 3Guppies (formerly "Mixxer").
The company was originally formed to work out a means to allow artists to sell their creations as ringtones, but it couldn't solve certain technical challenges. As a result, it attempted to switch horses in the middle of the proverbial stream by acquiring 3Guploads, another ringtone company founded by students at the University of Indiana. At that point the name change to 3Guppies happened. Unfortunately, 3Guploads didn't offer a revenue model either.
Bill Bryant, the founding chief executive of the predecessor company to 3Guppies, said the startup encountered issues after it acquired 3G Upload of Indiana. The newly formed entity -- backed by VanatagePoint (venture capital firm) -- had a tough time understanding the young user base of 3G Upload and integrating the technology platform to move beyond the ringtone business, said Bryant.
"We couldn't build other services on top of the technology, so we were stuck in the ringtone business," he said.
By the time 3Guppies recognized the severity of the problems, Bryant said, it was "too late in the game." (source)
With regards to the decision to pull the plug, VentureBeat's Dan Kaplan quotes a VantagePoint contact as saying, “it just was not a good
idea to blast to the end of the runway and crash, but to taxi off
gracefully.” Nicely put, guys. Hope you don't mind my using it too.
Meanwhile, small but talent-rich companies, such as Mynumo, continue to steam ahead in this space by solving all the technical problems, while the clueless venture capitalists ignore them.