This ex-Googler just got another $30 million to help companies with the ‘art and science’ of hiring exactly who they want

lever ceo sarah nahm

By 2012, Sarah Nahm, a former Googler who had worked as a speechwriter for Marissa Mayer and a designer on the Chrome team, knew she was ready for something different.

There was no “lightning strike” moment of inspiration, Nahm tells Business Insider. She and two colleagues knew they wanted to start a company together. They all had an interest in recruitment and human resources. They just didn’t know exactly what they would do.

Over the course of nine months, the Nahm and her partners worked their networks and embedded within tech companies including Twitter, trying to figure out what problem they could solve.

To Nahm’s surprise, it turned out that she was in the right place at the right time. At all of these companies, they found the same frustrations. The headaches weren’t over anything technical. Instead, the thing these high-growth Silicon Valley companies had a tough time solving was hiring. They wanted the best programmers and the best talent, but the market was just too competitive.

“You’d expect it to be ‘big data’ this or ‘machine learning’ that, but it’s human,” Nahm says.

And so she and her two partners formed Lever. The software startup, under Nahm’s command as CEO, is designed to help with the hiring headaches she saw bubbling up back in 2012.

It seems to be working. Lever counts over 1,000 customers, including Netflix and Cirque Du Soleil, according to Nahm. Lever itself now has over 100 employees.

And investors like what they’re seeing from the company. On Thursday, Lever plans to officially announce that it’s raised $30 million in a Series C venture round. That brings the total amount its raised from venture investors to $62 million.

Nahm says the big question for Lever now is: “How can we connect human potential to meaningful work?

Tools for a changing time

Lever’s launch and growth have come as the very idea of employment is changing, for better or for worse.

Millennials, especially, have earned a reputation for “job-hopping,” jumping from position to position and company to company every year or two as they pursue their own non-linear paths to success.

In Silicon Valley and beyond, there’s a veritable talent war for top-tier engineers. And as software continues to eat the world, even blue-collar jobs like farm work are requiring a growing array of computer skills .

“The future of work is changing, and it’s a pretty dramatic shift,” says Nahm. “People are out here looking for a deeper meaning.”

lever hire

Lever’s goal is to give its customers tools to manage that shift. Its service is designed to help HR departments proactively identify the best people for open positions and figure out the best ways to convince those candidates to join their companies. It also is designed to help companies retain their workers by offering recommendations for how they can keep the employees happy.

Through its tools, Lever is advancing the “art and science” of recruiting top talent, Nahm says.

A big enough lever

What really sets Lever apart, says Nahm, is that it makes hiring collaborative. When people in a company identify a potential job candidate, they can use Lever’s service to flag that person for their colleagues. Lever’s tools will also help figure out who within the company would be best placed to reach out to the candidate.

The system is designed to try to find the person with whom the candidate might best identify and who might stand the best chance of convincing the person to join the company. For example, instead of talking to a recruiter, a hotshot programmer might want to hear from another hotshot programmer about what drew her to the company.

Lever’s analytical tools provide tips to hiring managers about how often they should contact candidates and who on their team might be the most effective at getting through to them. Lever’s service can even give insight on the average time it will take to fill a position.

lever screen

The service is a far cry from what Nahm calls the “dark ages,” when companies would post a job listing and just hope that the right person responded – a process Nahm dubs “post and pray.” Lever is built around the notion that with data and better candidate tracking tools, companies can fill jobs much more intelligently.

‘That’s what I live for’

One of the benefits of Lever’s service is that it can be used by anyone in the company, not just the recruiting team. Opening up recruiting to all workers can help expand the pool of would-be candidates for jobs. And it can help yield a more diverse pool of candidates.

That’s a huge potential benefit, particularly in an era when the tech industry’s lack of diversity has become such a hot topic. Lever itself says that its employees are 50% women and 40% non-white.

Lever plans to use the cash it just raised to make its service even smarter, boosting its analytics and helping companies identify the talent they need, Nahm says. To Nahm, connecting companies to the right people at the right time is a design problem, similar to ones she’s faced in the past.

“That’s what I live for,” says Nahm.

Source: Business Insider


India Tech Founders – Does Alma Mater Matter?

This post is a continuation of our data story series on tech startup founders in India. Our first article covered founders and work experience as it related to funding, choice of business models, networks and exits. If you missed it, you can read it here.

In this post, we dwell on the much debated topic of founder academic background and gender. Does gender impact the ability to raise capital and also success in subsequent rounds?

How much does founder schooling impact the ability to raise initial capital? Do certain schools have better networks than others? Do some schools produce founders who fare better with specific business models? Which schools have produced more founders with exits to their credit?

You may recall that our study covers a ten-year period starting in 2005, and includes tech start ups that have raised a minimum of $2M in funding. This set encompasses 448 companies and 987 founders. We included both undergraduate and graduate academic credentials of founding teams.

Top schools provide an edge in funding

Of the 448 companies, a total of 158 companies (35%) have one or more founders from an IIT. If IIMs, BITS, and ISB are added to the mix, this percentage increases to 46%. Adding top global schools such as Harvard and Stanford hikes this to 51%. So, one of every two tech start-ups to have raised more than $2M over the past decade has a founder from one of these institutions. The other way to look at it is to say that 50% of all funding is going to founders without an elite school background. It is also illustrative to look at the other 50% that received funding. This group spans a broad range of institutions, including NITs, colleges such as DCE, NSIT, St Stephens, Sri Ram College of Commerce, Loyola College Chennai, College of Engineering, Guindy etc.

There are likely a few different factors at work here. It is possible that tech founders from top schools have a greater appetite for risk and try their hand at entrepreneurship due to better fallback options. All other things being equal (market, idea, approach), investors appear to view academic smarts as a proxy for the ability to solve tough problems. Globally, we see similar stats (Pitchbook global universities), with the top ten undergraduate programs alone spawning 3000 start-ups and attracting $34B in funding since 2010.

Founders from top schools do start with some key advantages. They have strong alumni networks that help with mentorship, seed funding and access to investors. This also helps when it comes to recruiting and building teams. The funding advantage seems to extend beyond initial rounds. Of the companies that raised more than $100M+, nearly 68% have a founding team member from a top school. We also looked at whether the fundraising ability of this group translated into exits. Of the top 15 exits (greater than $50M) in India over the past decade, 60% of them involved start-ups with founders from elite schools.

Correlation should not be confused with causality. One could argue that these outcomes are good but not great given the amount of funding that has gone into start-ups run by such founders. It remains an open question whether founders from elite institutions have a definitive edge in terms of tech ideas, innovation or value creation. Logic would dictate that this is unlikely to be the case.

Entrepreneurial ventures often start as a reaction to a specific problem faced by the founder, a strong passion, or a desire to change the status quo. As the India venture ecosystem enters its second decade, there is some risk that tech founders with similar backgrounds and experiences are susceptible to group think.  Similarly, it’s not too far fetched to argue that investors are also more persuaded by a certain profile of tech entrepreneurs – strong academic credentials, good presentation skills, and pursuit of spaces and business models that have traction globally. This is continually changing as the ecosystem matures to recognise and reward India centric entrepreneurs and solutions as well as greater diversity in founder backgrounds.

Bragging rights for those who care

We classified schools by number of companies founded by alumni, total funding raised, and exits. In terms of number of companies founded, IIT Bombay leads the pack followed by IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur and BITS Pilani. When it comes to fundraising, IIT Delhi replaces IIT Bombay, primarily due to massive rounds raised by Flipkart and Snapdeal.

We further segregated rankings by undergraduate programs, MBA programs and other post graduate programs such as MS, PHD etc. While Indian Schools – IITs, BITS, IIMs and ISB dominate the undergraduate and MBA rankings, global schools figure more prominently in post-graduate founder qualification rankings.

Founder alma mater and choice of business model

It was interesting to explore if schools and alumni networks influence choice of business model – B2C, B2B, and B2B2C. IITs and IIMs occupied the top spots for B2C rankings with companies such as Flipkart and Ola. BITS Pilani and IIT Madras alumni appear more adept at starting and growing B2B/B2B2C companies. IIM alumni don’t have the same level of involvement in the B2B space as compared to B2C. IIM Ahmedabad did not even make it to the top 15 B2B list despite occupying the fourth spot in the B2C list. All of this is relevant as networks available to founders from various schools do influence the pace at which they are able to assemble a team, attract co-founders, hire access investors and learn from those who have tread the path before.

Academic institutions and exits

Out of 448 venture funded companies that have raised $2M+ in our data set, there have been only 38 exits. If we apply a filter of $50M (to make these exits meaningful) we end up with 15 companies as seen in the table. We also included three exits – Directi, Makemytrip, and Jabong – outside of our dataset in this list to make it comprehensive.

It is interesting to note that IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay do not make this cut despite topping the funding lists in terms of number of companies and dollars raised. We would also like to call out that exit numbers balloon if you were to include companies that raised less than $2M in venture funding. Inc42 estimates[1] that there were 140 exits in 2016 alone. That list can be viewed here. However, from our perspective, the vast majority of these exits were not consequential in terms of value and many were acqui-hires.

MBA and tech entrepreneurship in India

One in every two startups in India has one or more founder with an MBA degree while one in every five has a founding team made up entirely of MBA degree holders. Also, 40% of all 448 startups have founding teams with MBA founders in a majority (51% of the founding team). These data points remain almost consistent across funding brackets. The question to debate then is whether an MBA degree contributes to soft skills such as leadership, networking, general business management and team building.

The top three sectors with the highest share of companies led by MBA founders are e-commerce, EdTech, and Travel & Transport at 68%, 63% and 60%, respectively. Enterprise Software and Tools rank second last at 29% on this list.

Women entrepreneurs: High batting average despite fewer opportunities

Only six percent (63 out of 987) of the founders who raised $2M+ in funding since 2005 are women. The number of female founders is growing but nowhere near the volumes everyone would like to see. The lower numbers of 2014, 2015 and 2016 do not paint a complete picture as there are many companies founded in these years that are yet to cross the $2M+ funding qualifier of our dataset.

In terms of companies, female founders are present in 13% of the 448 companies that have raised $2M+.

We checked if female founders were effective in fundraising across brackets. Of 58 companies that had female founders, 59% (34) have raised $5M+, 41% (24) have raised $10M+, 28% (16) have raised $20M+, 16% (9) have raised $50M+, and 10% (6) have raised $100M+. The respective numbers for 390 companies with founding teams without a female founder (orange bar in chart below) is only slightly better. Data seems to validate that female founders are as capable as male founders in raising multiple rounds of capital to fund business growth.

As we noted when we began this series, the objective of this study was to get a data driven view on India’s tech founders and their background – work experience, schooling, gender, networks and choice of business models. The next ten years will likely be very different. Lessons – good and bad, from the first decade will shape a new generation of founders, investors, and companies pursing the massive opportunity for tech led innovation in India.

Source: Bala Srinivasa on LinkedIn


Tech Startup Founders: The Data Story

Who is the Indian tech entrepreneur? Are there traits that characterise the brave ones that take the leap of entrepreneurship in a tough market like India? Do founders with work experience fare better and does this vary by sector? Do founders from specific schools have an edge when it comes to fund raising? Do graduates from certain schools show better entrepreneurship capabilities than others? Are certain founder types better equipped to build a B2B versus a B2C business? Is there a difference in the fund raising ability of female and male founders? Does ability to fund raise extend to exit outcomes?

What was surprising to us was the total lack of data to support or refute many of these questions. Lots of anecdotal viewpoints and small sample sizes based on what one saw at individual VC firms, but hardly any data intensive analysis over a reasonable time period that could paint a more accurate picture.

With this in mind we collated granular data on every tech startup in India that ever raised more than $2M in funding since 2005. This covers 448 companies and 987 founders. The $2M cut off is arbitrary and used as filter for a meaningful sample size of founders who have managed to raise a round of capital generally needed to build a scalable business. We agree that fund raising is not the only criteria for start-up success but given the early stages of the Indian venture ecosystem evolution, it seemed like a reasonable filter.

The answers are not a short cut to finding the next great entrepreneur or the next innovative business model. What it does provide is a window into history and how tech-entrepreneurship is evolving in India. It also raises interesting points of debate – if VCs are funding cookie-cutter entrepreneurs, whether entrepreneurs are just chasing me-too models, and the relationship between funding, ability to attain profitable scale, and exits.

We broke up the analysis along a few major dimensions -– work experience, academic background, sectors, business model choices, fund raising, and exits. Complexity comes from the inter-relationships so we are presenting our analysis by anchoring on each dimension and highlighting relevant cross-dimensional data points.

This first post focuses on founder work experience. In follow on posts we’ll pivot to founder academic background and funding. At the end of this write we have shared our data approach and methodology for those interested in the approach.

The myth of the inexperienced start-up founder

A common image of the Indian tech entrepreneur is a twenty something with an IIT/IIM degree straight out of school or with just a couple of years of work experience. This is far from reality. The average work experience of the Indian founder who has raised $2M or more since 2005 is around 10 years. This encompasses 432 companies and 955 founders, whose work experience data was available in public domain.

We further broke this by founding year cohorts. The average work experience of an Indian founder moves around a bit but not dramatically from the 9-11 years range. The average work experience of founders in 2015 and 2016 seems higher because of our $2M+ funding raised qualifier. There are many companies that did not make the cut off of November 2016 as they were in the process of raising a follow on round. This contributed to increased averages for 2015 and 2016. However it may also be a hint that founders with more experience may raise funding faster. We have plotted the entire distribution in the chart below.

Prior work experience does not seem to influence magnitude of capital raised

The graph below represents the relation between avg. founder experience in a company and the funding raised by company. On the X axis, we have the founding year to see if there had been any trend in this data over a period. The bubble sizes represent capital raised and are evenly spread across the length of Y axis across years, suggesting that there is not a strong correlation between funding raised and work experience of founders. The largest 3 bubbles (Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola) are very close to the X-axis where avg. work experience in the founding team is approximately 2 years. There is something to be said about technology based disruption and youth. Many of the biggest tech startups successes globally Google, Facebook, Snapchat, and AirBnB were started by founders with limited work experience – which probably allows innovative technology solutions unhindered by traditional thinking and past failures.

Founder work experience by sector

There is broad dispersion in terms of founder work experience by sector. Certain sectors such as Legaltech, Healthcare, Fintech, Enterprise Software, and Logistics etc. have founders with work experience well above the average. These tend to be complex industries where there is significant value in having deep understanding of the domain. New age areas like online travel and food tech are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Foodtech companies such as TinyOwl, and Zomato have founders with lower average prior experience at 5.6 years. This data is simply a snap shot of what has transpired to date and the averages across sectors. There are several examples globally and in India of tech innovation and successful companies having been founded by entrepreneurs with no prior domain expertise.

We took the top 3 sectors with the most founders – Ecommerce, Enterprise Software & Tools, and Fintech to see how founder backgrounds differ. We have only considered the last company where the founders worked before starting on their own. Consulting firms such as Mckinsey, BCG etc. are bucketed under Consulting – Global; companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, and Trilogy are bucketed under Tech – Global. Second time founders are in Ex-Founder category; and founders who were employees at a prior start up fall under the Startup – India or Startup – Global categories.

It is interesting to note that in Ecommerce, a majority of founders were associated with the startup ecosystem in some capacity before founding their own companies.

In Enterprise Software & Tools which includes all SaaS companies such as Freshdesk, and Networking companies such as Aryaka, many founders (43%) cut their teeth at global tech companies (Microsoft, Amazon) or Indian majors (Infosys, Wipro).

Fintech is a complex sector where in addition to solving for volumes or reimagining a better consumer experience, entrepreneurs need to navigate the maze of complex regulatory oversight in the sector. One in every three founders in fintech who has successfully raised over $2M previously worked at a financial services company – Global (Citi, Barclays) or Indian (ICICI Bank, HDFC) etc.

Founder work experience and choice of business model

It is generally believed that B2C companies dominate the Indian startup landscape. This is not supported by data. Since 2005, 239 B2C companies and 209 B2B and B2B2C companies were founded which raised more than $2M+. It was not surprising to see B2B and B2B2C have higher average founder work experience than B2C. Selling to businesses, especially in India, is tough. In the B2B space, founders with some prior work experience seem to have have greater success in getting things off the ground – hiring for enterprise selling roles, alliances, and networks to open doors for initial pilots.

Large company mafia

We wondered if there are large enterprises in India that nurture entrepreneurs of the future. Do these companies enable networks that later benefit their alumni when they start their entrepreneurial venture. Our data based on those that have staying power to raise over $2M in funding shows that Microsoft is the most successful platform. There have been 14 start-ups founded by ex-Microsoft employees that have gone on to attract seed and series A funding. This is followed by Amazon, Yahoo, and Mckinsey. This list of the top 10 platforms shows that tech companies and consulting companies (Mckinsey and BCG) are major contributors to the Indian start-up-ecosystem. What does not yet make a splash on the list are the alumni of large Indian startups – Flipkart, Ola, and Snapdeal. We see a lot of entrepreneurs that have cut their teeth at these firms and it’s a matter of time before they make the top ten list.

Founders experience and exits

We took a look at the top exits among India tech start ups and founder experience at the time of starting. The vast majority of the exits seem to reflect companies with experienced founders. However its interesting to note that Directi which was one of the larger tech exits did not raise any funding and had founders with limited prior work experience. Again a strong argument that the truly disruptive solutions often emerge from first principles thinking and when not coloured by past experiences in the industry.

In our next post we’ll discuss founder academic backgrounds and data derived relationships to funding, business models, and exits.

Data and methodology:

We created a comprehensive data set covering parameters such as undergrad alma mater of the founders, last company before they started their entrepreneurial journey, sectors, exits and work experience. This data set was primarily created using the data available via CB Insights, Tracxn, Linkedin, Venture Intelligence, and Crunchbase.

We analysed 448 companies which were founded in the year 2005 or later and which had raised $2M or more until November of 2016. These companies had a total of 987 founders which we used to create founder specific data sets. The companies in our data have raised a total of $18.2B across 1153 deals over the last 10+ years.

Correction: We heard back from the Directi founder Divyank Turakhia and he was kind enough to correct an error on our part. Bhavin and Divyank sold Directi in 2014 for $160M to Endurance International. We had incorrectly stated that Directi was sold for 900M. It was Divyank and Bhavin’s next venture, that was sold to a Chinese consortium for $900M (but this was not an India based business). We have corrected the table above to reflect this.

Source: Bala Srinivasa on LinkedIn


4 Strong reasons to choose iPhone over Android

By now, high-end Android phones are largely just as good as the iPhone.

But there are still some key reasons to choose the iPhone over Android if you’re having trouble deciding.


Guaranteed software updates for years

iOS is the only platform that guarantees you’ll get software updates with new features throughout the life of your device. In fact, Apple supports old iPhones long after most people stop using them. For example, the latest iOS 10 even works on the iPhone 5, which launched four years ago.

Android phones rarely get that kind of support. Many manufacturers stop issuing Android updates after a year or so, if you’re lucky. That means you’re likely to miss the latest and greatest features that come to Android each year.

The best apps, first

Both iPhone and Android have a robust selection of apps, but iPhone still tends to get the best apps first.

Developers tend to make more money from the iPhone, which is why it often gets preference over Android.

The latest example? Nintendo’s first Mario game, “Super Mario Run,” will be an iPhone exclusive when it launches later this year.

No “crapware” from your wireless carrier

Carriers have a lot of control over what appears on Android phones, and they use that leverage to stuff the devices full of apps and services you don’t need. Even worse, those apps are often impossible to delete from your device.

The iPhone never comes with carrier crapware. The software is exactly the same no matter which carrier you buy your iPhone from.

The best support if you have a problem

Apple has a vast network for customer support. Just walk into an Apple Store and someone will help you with your issues.

It gets messy with Android phones though. In most cases, you have to deal with your wireless carrier if you have a problem with your phone, not the manufacturer, which means you’re working with people who aren’t as well-versed in how your device works.

Source: Business Insider


Turing Phone Cadenza: the god of all smartphones if its true ? ? ?

Turing Phone Cadenza

California based Turing Robotics Industries, phone with dual Snapdragon 830 processor (which is yet to be officially announced), triple batteries, hydrogen fuel cell. . . ,

Cadenza features a 5.8-inch Quad HD display of 1440×2560 pixel resolution. It is powered by not one, but two Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 (even though the same hasn’t been officially announced) CPUs paired with a an astonishing 12GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage. The storage can be further expanded up to 512GB by installing a microSD card.

It runs Turing’s own Swordfish OS with deep learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) features a 60MP rear camera with IMAX 6K recording facility and a 20MP dual-front camera . Users can install up to 4 sim cards in the smartphone and it houses a huge 100Wh battery with graphene and hydrogen fuel cells.

Turing Phone Cadenza specs


India is home to World’s Third Biggest Tech Startup Hub

India is home to the third largest number of technology driven startups in the world, with the US and the UK occupying the top two positions, according to a report.

The study, done by Assocham in association with Thought Arbitrage Research Institute, also revealed that Bengaluru is host to the largest share of technology startups in the country, followed by Delhi NCR and Mumbai, while Hyderabad and Chennai are also quite popular among budding tech entrepreneurs.

“In the technology driven startups, India has moved up to third position with the US occupying the top position with more than 47,000 and the UK with over 4,500.

“India’s tech startups numbered around 4,200 up to 2015,” the report pointed out.

In terms of total number of startups, comprising both tech and non-tech areas, India again figured among the five largest hosts in the world, along with China (10,000 each).

The US occupies the top slot with 83,000 startups.

IT hub Bengaluru is host to 26 per cent of domestic tech startups, followed by Delhi NCR (23 per cent) and Mumbai (17 per cent). In the ‘catching up’ category were Hyderabad (8 per cent), Chennai and Pune (6 per cent each).

“The disruptive innovation in technology and process is creating newer Indian startups and foreign investors, including some of the well-known venture capital funds, are showing immense interest in these startups,” Assocham President Sunil Kanoria said.

The awareness that a startup is a vehicle of rapid growth through technological disruption and innovation, has to spread across the economy, the report said. Otherwise, if any small traditional business is treated as a startup, then the ecosystem will never develop properly, it added.

The study recommended that synergising ‘Startup India’ with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives has the potential to expand the domestic ecosystem for new entrepreneurs.

It also suggested tax exemption for research and experimentation to encourage fresh ideas without fear of failure. Recommending a Stanford University model in various Indian universities, the Assocham-Thought Arbitrage paper said courses on creation of small businesses should be encouraged in campuses.

Source: Business Insider


6 Apple products maybe you never heard of ! ! !

Apple has been at the forefront of innovation and bringing all new categories of products to the masses in consumer-friendly packages. But contrary to popular belief, the US tech giant has had many hiccups, introducing failed products that have been forgotten by the world.

Here are some obscure products that Apple has launched over the years, that failed to live up to the company’s reputation:

QuickTake 100

Apple Quicktake 100
Apple Quicktake 100

About 20 years ago, during Steve Jobs’ exile from the company, Apple released one of the world’s first consumer digital cameras in collaboration with Kodak. Priced at $749, one of the main reasons that QuickTake 100 is said to have failed to woo customers is that it is amongst the very few Apple products that the company didn’t design itself.

It could store eight 640x480px (0.3MP) coloured photographs, and was only brought to Apple because the original inventors — Kodak — didn’t want to jeopardize their film business, so they decided it would be smarter to have Apple’s name attached to it.

The QuickTake 100 was eventually discontinued after three years of production, in 1997.

Apple Graphics Tablet

Apple Graphics Tablet
Apple Graphics Tablet

In the year 1979, when Apple II was the latest and greatest desktop computer offered by the American tech giant, drawing and sketching digitally was a hassle. To solve this issue, Apple introduced an accessory for the Apple II — the Apple Graphics Tablet.

It allowed users to draw digitally using a wired stylus, and the device came at a price of $650. The tablet was later discontinued when the FCC found out that it caused radio frequency interference problems.

iPod Socks

Apple iPod Socks
Apple iPod Socks

Winter is coming people, and it does not discriminate between the living and the.. electronics? Back in the day, when iPods were still cool, Apple made a warm, fuzzy buddy for the MP3 player — a sock.

That’s right, no shiny cases to bulk up your device — these iPod socks protected the iPod from unwanted scratches, and at the same time, kept them warm.

Retailing for $29 for a pack of six, the iPod socks remained on shelves for eight years, from 2004-2012.

Apple Pippin

Apple Pippin
Apple Pippin

Back in the day, before the PlayStation was as big as it is today, and Microsoft made its first Xbox, Apple made their push into the gaming industry with their first — and only — console, the Apple Pippin.

Running on a stripped down version of Mac OS, the home entertainment device was launched at a price of $599 in 1996 in partnership with Japanese videogame company Bandai.

The Pippin failed to gain the customers’ interest and is said to have only sold 42,000 units out of the 100,000 manufactured.

Macintosh TV

Apple Macintosh TV
Apple Macintosh TV

Before rumours of Apple entering the TV industry started to make the rounds, the company had already made its debut in the market decades ago with the Macintosh TV.

A hybrid device between a desktop computer and cable-ready television, the Macintosh TV was a rather ambitious product. It was first introduced in 1993 with 5MB RAM, 160MB hard drive, 14-inch display, and a $2,099 price tag.

The product performed very poorly in the market, and only sold 10,000 units before it was discontinued almost 4 months after its launch.

Apple Newton MessagePad

Apple Newton MessagePad
Apple Newton MessagePad

Apple launched numerous failed products during its ‘dark age’ (when Steve Jobs had been fired from the company and John Sculley appointed CEO), and the Apple Newton was one of them.

Before Apple completely revolutionised mobile computing with the iPhone and iPad, the tech giant developed a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) called the Newton MessagePad. The poster feature of one of the first mobile touch-based consumer products was handwriting recognition. Users could use the stylus to write, and the device automatically converted it to text. This, however, became the doom for Apple Newton, as it never worked the way it was supposed to, and made too many errors.

Starting at a base price of $699, the device failed miserable and only sold 50,000 units in the first four months. It lived a short life on the shelves, having been discontinued after 5 years of launch, in 1998.

Source: TOI