By and large technology companies had an amazing 2017. The NASDAQ was up 28.2% for the year, and numerous startups raised multi-hundred and even billion dollar rounds of funding at record valuations.
But while the majority of Tech CEO’s had something to celebrate, there are more than a handful of current (and now former) CEO’s who will be glad to put 2017 into the rearview mirror.
In today’s post we look at just the top four contenders (in our opinion). No doubt they will be looking for 2018 to get off to a more positive start than the close of last year.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel
2017 got off to a great start for Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. His company, Snap, listed on the stock market and at first it appeared the IPO was a massive success. In fact, Snap shares closed up 44% on their first day of trade, closing at $24.48 compared to the offer price of just $17 a share.
Unfortunately since then it has largely been downhill for Snapchat and Evan Spiegel. Facebook has come out guns blazing and implemented a number of core Snapchat features into their Instagram, Messenger and Facebook properties. In fact, there are now more daily active users of Instagram Stories than there are of Snapchat users.
In addition to that it seems like the Snap Spectacles have ended up a flop, with the company forced to announce a loss of $40 million on excess inventory.
Snap’s share price closed out the year at less than $15.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi knew he was walking into a fire storm after he replaced former CEO and Co-Founder Travis Kalanick but skeletons from the Uber/Travis Kalanick closet continue to emerge.
Uber’s troubles largely kicked off in February following the publication of a former employees blog post describing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
Things continued to go downhill for the rest of the year with Kalanick stepping down in August, London ruling that the company did not run a fit and proper service and therefore revoked their licence, and more recently in November announcing a security breach that affected 2.7 million members.
Worse still was the fact that the company tried to cover up the breach by paying the hackers $100,000 in order to destroy the downloaded information.
And all this doesn’t include the fact that Google is suing the company for alleged theft of self driving car secrets.
While many of the issues at Uber where well in play before Dara joined the company he will surely welcome in 2018 as a chance to write a new chapter in this story and get the company back on track for a future IPO.
Juicero CEO Doug Evans
Juicero has been the laughing stock in Silicon Valley for quite some time now. In fact, so bad was this year for the company that not only did it shut down, but it also offered to re- purchase its juicers from those who purchased them.
Doug Evans came up with the idea of creating a juicer that could transform contents of packed fruits and vegetables extracts into juice. He in fact managed to sell the idea to investors for $120 million.
All seemed to go well for the startup company until buyers discovered that they could simply squeeze out the juice using their own hands. That the juicer could use the Internet to detect expired content also made no sense since the packets came with expiry dates. These discoveries led people to mock the company at every opportunity.
Needless to say, the company suffered major losses and eventually had to close down in 2017.
Blue Apron (Former) CEO Matt Salzburg
Blue Apron couldn’t have chosen a worse day to list on the stock market if they tried. Not only had the lead up to their listing seen the investment community place greater scrutiny on the on-demand and home delivery sector, but Amazon announced their acquisition of Whole Foods.
Given Amazon’s leading position in warehousing and logistics investors very quickly saw this as an opportunity for Amazon to expand their footprint into the fresh food and prepared meal delivery sector. I.e. Go after the exact same market as Blue Apron.
Over the course of the year Blue Apron’s share price shed 70% and resulted in Matt Salzburg stepping down from the role of CEO.
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Also published on Medium.