Dabble is a great Chicago-based startup that’s trying to serve as a marketplace for people to take specialty classes on anything from guitar playing to bridge playing to designing websites. The market place for this kind of startup is getting kind of crowded, but the two women behind the wheel, Erin Hopmann and Jess Lybeck are doing whatever they can to chug along.
In all fairness Dabble is doing a little better than just dabbling. Mashable reports that they’ve raised $500,000 in two angel rounds. They’ve received a bunch of good press locally and regionally. In fact they are often compared to other startups with similar ideas as one of the first to market. Add to that the fact that they are on pace to double sales in 2013 and you may be wondering why the need to “save themselves”.
Well at one point, after closing their angel rounds, Hopmann and Lybeck took on a few more employees and salaries for themselves. At this point they’ve cut back down from 7 employees to 3 and also stopped taking a salary. It would seem sales aren’t sustaining the company and they are looking for another big round of funding to get it over the hump.
So they’ve decided to try something a little different. Both Hopmann and Lybeck are penning a blog called “30 Days of Honesty.” “What do you do when you’re struggling with a company you love” is the headline at the top of their blog. In it they talk about the trials and problems they are going through right now as they run out of runway.
The hope is to help other entrepreneurs, and at the same time maybe find that special investment that will get them to the next level.
The women told Mashable that they’ve already received responses from customers who offered to pay more to keep the startup afloat. Other entrepreneurs have written in with encouragement, ideas, and words of wisdom, and they also just set up an appointment with an investor who had read the blog.
Today (September 10th) marks day 16 of their quest.
What comes next? Hoppmann says she may have to find work if the company doesn’t turn around. “If it’s a month from now, and there’s not some hope for taking pay out of Dabble by the end of the year, I will go and seek out something that is a source of income,” she said in the interview
They aren’t the first ones to talk about a startup failing. There was an anonymous Tumblr called “My Startup Has 30 days to Live,” and even our good friends at WorkForPie penned a thought provoking post as they were running out of runway earlier this summer.
What happens next for Dabble? You can keep up with their plight here. Hopefully they will find both the knowledge and the money they need to continue. If not, hopefully they’ll dust themselves off and start again.