I genuinely liked Kicktable, a Belgian startup that aimed to build a service to ‘make urban life more exciting’. Basically, they wanted to build a community-powered marketplace à la Etsy or Airbnb for activities, offering locals a place to host and book discounted things-to-do at the last minute.
I thought it was a good idea, and they got some traction in Brussels.
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Later, the Kicktable team was accepted into UK-based Springboard‘s accelerator program – in fact, our own Martin Bryant interviewed them when they were working out of the Google Campus in London, as part of our ‘Tears, Tantrums & Tech’ video series.
In a message on its blog, the Kicktable team says:
Today, after more than:
– 120 events in Brussels and London (including coffee tasting sessions, art gallery tours and an underground concert in a hotel lobby)
– 600+ participants
– 2000+ users
– 15,000€+ generated for passionate hosts
We officially announce that we have decided to stop working on Kicktable full-time. It has been an amazing journey.
Why, you ask?
Well, because Kicktable couldn’t figure out how to scale the business:
After all our hard work, we came to the conclusion that we don’t think this business can be scaled to the size that it needs. While we still hope that people will explore cities in a more authentic way, we don’t believe it will happen via a profitable peer-to-peer marketplace (at least not now).
Kicktable was built and marketed as a community marketplace for authentic experiences; it was also dubbed as “an Airbnb or Etsy for activities”. Similarly to those highly successful p-2-p marketplaces, for the economics of the business to work, it needs to be scalable.
In our case, it means having hundreds of events hosted by our community in dozens of cities. The market for activities is local and fragmented; it would certainly benefit from a global community marketplace.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Kicktable can scale in the same way Airbnb or Etsy have scaled.
It takes a special kind of person crazy enough to do a startup, as any entrepreneur will tell you, but it also takes guts to kill a business you’ve started from scratch. Pulling the plug on something you’ve created is never easy, but I’m sure it was an unforgettable learning experience for them.
We wish the Kicktable team all the best.