7 Celebrity-Endorsed Startups That Totally Bombed

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7 Celebrity-Endorsed Startups That Totally Bombed

You have a team. You have funding. You have a product. And you have a celebrity backing your company. What could go wrong? Lots, apparently. A lot of things can go wrong.

We know this because the list of failed startups that either had celebrity cash or endorsements is pretty damn long. It’s not exhaustive — having someone that people want to take pictures with on board won’t automatically up your burn, but at the same time, damn. It isn’t a stretch to presume that if you attach a bit of glamour, and a free fanbase to your product, your chances of survival might kick up a notch. Not always.

There are some exceptions to the rule, such as Jessica Alba, a founder of the Honest Company. It’s worth nearly $1 billion. Jared Leto has made a smart investment or two. But for every positive example we could find, we found a few more to the contrary. Let’s take a look.

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Brilliant Idea, Or Cash-Burning Shitshow?

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER GABRIEL SERAFINI UNDER CC BY 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

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Moonfrye's First App

When the actress Soleil Moon Frye, better known as the actress behind Punky Brewster, announced an eponymous iOS app called Moonfrye, people took notice. Having Frye’s name attached to it meant that the media would pay attention to the product that TechCrunch said was “designed to inspire children’s creativity.” The app didn’t make it. According to App Annie, Moonfrye hasn’t been updated since February and has languished on the charts. The website Moonfrye.com remains live, and you can still download the app.

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Just Sing It

Here the problem was that not enough people sung it. Just Sing It picked up celebrity love from Lindsay Lohan — who is a singer, it turns out — who hosted a party for the app, and tweeted about it. Her brother was an investor, it seems. Whatever the case, let’s look to the App Annie charts: Top 100 in its category in one country, Mozambique. The app hasn’t been updated in about five months.

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WireDoo

More like Wire-Don’t. MC Hammer launched a search engine. TechCrunch noted at the time of its launch that you couldn’t Google to find it, in something approaching a conflagration of irony. Hammer said that “[y]ou could always make things better, create the next version” at the Web 2.0 Summit where he announced the product. Now, its website doesn’t load.

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Airtime

Airtime didn’t have much hangtime. After raising tens of millions of dollars and launching with more hype than god, the Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning founded video chat service was a Color-esque flop. Fast forward a few years, and the service relaunched as a mobile app called OkHello. The new product did better at first, but the data isn’t very pretty. So much for that.

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Myspace

Not even Justin Timberlake could save the once-popular Myspace. The pop icon basically took over the social network during its reboot – to the point where you couldn’t escape him. The new Myspace geared itself toward artists and music lovers, promising fans the ability to discover and connect with emerging artists. Instead, it failed to strike a chord as new mega-networks won the world over. The site’s rankings continue to descend over time.

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Typo Keyboard

Ryan Seacrest invested $1 million into a phone case/keyboard startup called the Typo Keyboard, and was hit with a design infringement lawsuit from BlackBerry. But that didn’t stop the radio host/TV personality from developing his project. The startup released the Typo 2 in hopes of dodging a second lawsuit. We’re not sure exactly how many people are buying this pointless keyboard contraption, but the fact that Seacrest was sued by BlackBerry for design infringement is failure enough in itself.

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Ashton Kutcher's Twitter Client

Remember when Ashton Kutcher teamed up with UberMedia to build and launch a Twitter client called A.plus? Yeah, we’d forgotten, too. What started out in 2011 as a branded Twitter app that ran using Adobe AIR and was available for both Mac and Windows. We haven’t heard much from it recently.

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