A startup business can be best described as a laboratory for business ideas, where a hypothesis of a new product or service is tested, tweaked and researched before we know for sure whether it is destined to be a success or miss the mark.

Part of the reason why so many people opt for the assistance of a lean startup coach is to streamline this process and get to the test and tweaking process as quickly as possible via the creation of a minimum viable product.

With so many businesses opening and closing, it is important to know quickly whether there is an interest in the product or service you are developing, and many startups fold quickly simply by not finding that core customer base

However, some of them fail for much odder reasons, but regardless are ones that we can learn a lesson from. Here are some of the oddest lessons.

Jawbone – Did Not Stand Out Enough

Jawbone received a huge multi-billion pound valuation in 2014 on the back of a wearable fitness tracker that could take on the might of the Fitbit, as well as then-rumoured products by Samsung and Apple.

It raised a lot of capital but with just 3 per cent of the elusive market that had become exponentially saturated, they liquidated in 2017.

Pets.com – Spent Too Much With Too Little Certainty

Of the many startup casualties caused by the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the tragic tale of online pet supply store Pets.com is a classic cautionary tale of not getting swept away by your own hype and novelty.

They bought an advert during the Super Bowl and their advertising spend was over $11.8m, even though they made barely a twentieth of that ($619,000) in revenue, losing money with nearly every product they sold.

Like many startups of the era, they spent a lot to acquire a consumer base that they could not upsell onto higher-margin products and they self-liquidated by November 2000.

Theranos – Ambition With No Connection To Reality

Currently, the subject of one of the largest fraud cases in MedTech, Theranos and their non-existent miniaturised blood testing kit was ambitious, and had it been in any way plausible would have changed the world of medical diagnosis forever.

Its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, was a celebrity during Theranos’ peak and was compared and compared herself to Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs, with a plan to create a tiny desktop-computer sized blood-testing machine that could do hundreds of tests with just a single drop of blood.

However, both the tiny amount of blood and the tiny machine led to wildly inaccurate test results, which were covered up by Ms Holmes and the Theranos management team until a damaging 2015 expose revealed the level of deception.

Dreaming big is good, but at some point, there needs to be a pathway to make that dream real, and Theranos never had it.