Nacho Cove, an email startup co-founded by Bendite Chris Perret, is closing down. Chris, a serial entrepreneur willing to share the good, bad and ugly about startup life, posted a thoughtful piece on Medium Tuesday about what went wrong — as well as right.

Chris started Nacho Cove in 2012. Our long-time readers (Hi Mom and Dad!) might recall that we profiled the company as one of our #50startups; its headquarters were technically Portland, though Chris, the company’s CEO, is in Bend. Nacho Cove created an email client — Nacho Mail, which integrates your email, calendar and contacts, and adapts to users needs through its AI management tool. They closed a $1 million seed round last July.

Chris is no stranger to startups. He previously co-founded Nukona, the first complete Enterprise Mobile Management solution, which was subsequently purchased by Symantec a scant 18 months after it started.

From his medium post:

Current situation — we went after an old/stale technology, building an enterprise communication (email/chat/to-do) tool that had the ability to prioritize actions based on what mattered to the individual. That’s right, we went after the email problem that plagues every individual who works in a large company. We got a few patents, built a great tool (better than anything on market) and did it on a shoestring. Two competitors emerged, spending 10X what we spent to build technology that was less capable, less secure and less enterprise focused.

So here’s the deal — we did NOT get acquired while the other guys did. And now, cuz I don’t want to throw good money after bad, we are shutting down the company and merging technology with a few other firms. It SUCKS!

Chris then walks through what his competitors did better than Nacho Cove. I’ll let you read the whole post, which is worth four minutes of your time. But here’s a few of the highlights:

  • Their competitors moved faster.
  • Their competitors spent more on marketing.
  • Nacho Cove tried to have work-life balance (Balance doesn’t work in startups, Chris writes)

He expands on these points and more, offering some great advice. Chris also discusses what the company did right, including believing in the product and not wasting investor dollars. What’s next? Chris notes that he’s helping his team find jobs, and that there are “several folks that are likely to use our technology to help their own efforts.”

On a personal level, this has been a kick in the teeth. I hate, absolutely hate not winning. That said, every time I look at what we did, and our outcome, I have not seen steps that we would have made differently (at the time we made those decisions). I’ve learned far more than I wanted to about this aspect of startup life.

I was bummed to hear this news. But I do want to thank Chris. Because goodness knows we love to hear about money raised, people hired, projected growth and general winning. But man, it’s helpful to hear founders discuss startups that didn’t work and what they learned. Those reflections are a gift to entrepreneurs in the trenches. So Chris, I’m grateful for your insights — others are too — and I’m looking forward to see what you do next.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley