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The Next Big Idea: What Happens When A Startup Fails

The Next Big Idea: What Happens When A Startup Fails


Ethan Senturia, former CEO, Dealstruck


Photo credit: Blackbird Ventures

The book cover of "Unwound."

San Diego is known as a hub for startups looking to grow into billion-dollar companies. But for every one that makes it big, about twice as many fail.

That’s what happened to Ethan Senturia. His startup, Dealstruck, was a promising financial technology company a few years ago. The pitch to investors was Dealstruck could be more efficient than traditional banks in lending money to small businesses. Dealstruck eventually raised about $30 million and had 60 employees, but after a few years, it ran out of money and shut down.

RELATED: The Next Big Idea: A Guide To San Diego’s Innovation Economy

Senturia has written about what it’s like inside the volatile world of startups in his recent book, “Unwound: Real-Time Reflections from a Stumbling Entrepreneur.” He said too many first-time entrepreneurs focus too much on finding a flashy solution to a problem that customers would value, instead of the more "boring" conventional businesses fundamentals.

"We, like many in the financial technology space, initially ran it more like a technology company and didn't necessarily have the internal controls, the right capitalization, the right people and the right ethos about how to grow long-term into something that was sustainable," Senturia said. "In some sense, our mindset was wrong and that drove a lot of the decisions we made about how to build the business that I would have done differently."

Senturia joins KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday as part of its month-long series, The Next Big Idea, on the stories behind San Diego startups.


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