Fast, a firm that offered online checkout services, announced its closure this afternoon. The company’s survival has been in doubt for days, as reports revealed that revenue growth in 2021 would be moderate, capital burn would be considerable, and funding alternatives would be restricted. The company’s conclusion was originally published by The Information. The firm claimed in a statement that “we have made the tough choice to close our doors” after “making enormous strides on our objective of making buying and selling seamless for everyone.”
The firm, created by Domm Holland and Allison Barr Allen, went on to call itself a “trailblazer,” stating that despite it failed, it managed to “forever” revolutionize the world of internet commerce. It’s unclear how much credit the short-lived firm deserves for its efforts in the one-click checkout industry, but at least fast is going out the way it came in: giving itself more credit than its financial outcomes deserved.
Despite obtaining a $102 million Series B lead by Stripe, Fast only made six figures in sales in 2021. The company’s monthly burn rate was believed to be as high as $10 million, a large multiple of revenue, much alone gross profit. This year, a firm crumbling a year after raising $9 million won’t be a typical tale, but startup failures happen in many shapes and sizes, and this is a more high-profile fall. Others will come to a halt in a more gradual and less violent manner.
Fast was recently valued at roughly $580 million on a post-money basis, according to PitchBook statistics. The company’s closure comes as a shock to employees who had options that are now worthless. It’s unclear whether the company’s founders were able to sell some of the company’s massive Series B shares, but if they did, let’s hope they gave the money to their former employees. According to Crunchbase, the firm has raised $124.5 million since its establishment in 2019. Other investors include Index Ventures, Susa Ventures, and Global Founders Capital, in addition to Stripe.
Fast was inking partnerships like one with The Honest Company to offer one-click checkout for its consumers as recently as March 28, 2022. NPR reported earlier this year that CEO Holland was embroiled in controversy in Australia prior to launching Fast. Tow.com.au, Holland’s previous firm that sought to be “the Uber of towing,” collapsed in a “disaster,” according to at least one source. Holland’s previous company, according to NPR, was “in a multimillion-dollar billing battle with the Australian state government over towing and impounding fines, which led to the startup’s collapse in 2018.”
Meanwhile, community resources have sprung up in the aftermath of Fast’s downfall, including a list of former employees that is circulating. A short peek at social media reveals that a number of firms are on the lookout for Fast employees. Because the startup talent market is still thriving, the impact on individuals laid off today may be limited. Fast’s decision comes as a number of other high-profile businesses have begun to scale back their investments. In startup land, layoffs are on the rise again, and one well-known unicorn just reduced its valuation to better incentivise its employees. TechCrunch reported earlier today that Workrise, which was valued at $2.9 billion last year following a $300 million round, has fired off “hundreds” of staff. This year is shaping up to be very different from the previous two years.