Below is the note my co-founder Arik and I sent to our employees, investors, advisors, mentors, and customers the day we shut down our startup UrbanLeap.
We like to joke that we picked the hardest possible business for our first startup. Governments are not the fastest adopters in the world.
Fixing government procurement did prove to be hard. And although we got meaningfully close, today we’re shutting down UrbanLeap.
Shutting down is a failure. When entrepreneurs are asked why they failed, there is only one adequate answer: “I wasn’t good enough.” We were good, we were smart, we worked insanely hard for 5 years.
But we weren’t good enough. And we will share our reflections soon enough.
There are two things that made us put so much into UrbanLeap, and for so long: our mission and our customers.
Achieving the best outcome for every government purchase is an important mission. Government procurement is how 10% of the economy is run. It is how taxpayer dollars are being spent. It is how governments are able to provide, and sometimes fail to provide, critical services to their residents.
35 municipalities used us to deploy $16M+ throughout the procurement process. They leveraged UrbanLeap to procure anything: printers, IT systems, road construction, fireworks, and even sonography services to figure out which cemetery spots are currently occupied.
Saying goodbye to them has been the hardest part. As one city manager movingly wrote us:
Arik, That is truly saddening news. We have so appreciated our partnership with you, Erez, [...], and everyone else over the years. I can’t tell you how great your product and service was. It made a huge difference for our little city. I’m sorry there was not a way to make it pencil out financially. We thank you for all your hard work on our behalf and that of local governments throughout the country. I wish you all the best in whatever comes next.
UrbanLeap could have greatly benefited every single government agency in the US. It is a dream that will remain a dream for now.
The purpose of this letter is to express our gratitude for an incredible journey. 99% of the work has been done by our employees, investors, advisors, mentors, and of course customers.
Especially our employees, who each dedicated a chunk of their lives to UrbanLeap:
Justine Triola for being the first.
Alexander Mussafi for hustling.
Jeremy Devray-Benichou for doing absolutely anything for our customers.
Richard Lechner for sticking all the way.
Austin Wilson for selling an unsellable product (before the pivot).
Aaron Glemann for challenging us the most.
David Quirós for being a team player who doesn’t rest very much.
Julian Benabides for doing what’s needed.
Maksim Pecherskiy for leaving government to improve government.
Nupoor Shedbale for getting things done.
Shreya Arora for being a game-changer.
Flora Sarder for asking why 5 times and then 5 more.
Gary LosHuertos for building what nobody else can.
Guy Confino for putting reality in our faces.
Tori Hall for cracking the email channel.
Jessica Roque for gracefully building the entire product, at the speed of light.
Holland White for fueling our faith in government.
Jess Oshea for cracking sales, and then selling a lot.
Slava Zubko for rebuilding the team.
Lauren Ahn for teaching us to identify sheer talent.
Crystal Tran for overflowing with energy.
Artem Malysh for being a 10x engineer.
Zach Hope for consistency + persistence = sales.
Danny Luskin for reading more books than all of us combined.
Eilam Gilboa for being positively paranoid.
Jacob Behbodikhah for doing anything and everything, except complaining.
Mike Kobernyk for fixing the hard stuff.
Chelsea Mooneyhan for gently but surely closing deals.
Anat Ronen for helping us become a company.
Bill Goldrick for selling the humane way.
Julie Austin for pushing through gatekeepers.
Deshan Beneby for customer love.
Lauren Hoffman for being with our customers to the very end.
If you received this email from us then we wanted to thank you personally. For believing, investing, sweating, and betting on us.
This is us 7 years ago on our first (founders) date, cooking dinner.
And this is us 7 years (plus 3 Bronshtein kids) later hiking our very last UrbanLeap retro.
A final word to our fellow entrepreneurs: aim for the greatest, scariest, and most valuable thing you can imagine. If you do, you’ll either change the world or fail Daring Greatly.
With leaps of gratitude,
Erez & Arik