May 4th, 2009
LUNARR in retrograde: After several beta products, startup decides to close up shop
I always hate to report on this stuff, but sometimes you just have to. Portland-based LUNARR, one of the first companies to come out of stealth mode after I started Silicon Florist, has decided to close its doors.
Last Thursday, users of LUNARR’s Elements and Themes products received the following notice:
Dear Elements users,
This email is to let you know that LUNARR will be discontinuing our Elements service as of Sunday, May 10th, 2009. You may continue to use
the service until that date, at which time your LUNARR Terms of Service will be terminated and content will no longer be accessible.
We would like to sincerely thank you for being a part of the Elements beta experiment!
The LUNARR team
Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat was the first to report on this product shut down as a more complete—and corporate—shut down. The Portland Business Journal confirmed the story the next day with the headline “Upstart software company Lunarr to close,” citing “An e-mail from a company official said the business will close permanently on May 15.”
LUNARR was the creation of Toru Takasuka, who gained rock star entrepreneur status with the IPO of Cybozu, and Hideshi Hamaguchi, arguably one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people with whom I’ve ever had the pleasure to chat.
Tom Formemski of Silicon Valley Watcher lauds the decisive—albeit difficult—decision:
It must be difficult pulling the plug and closing down a company and its community of staff and users, there are a lot of people affected. But that’s the discipline required in running a startup, knowing when to move on. Usually outside investors turn off the lights. In this case funding was not a problem because Toru Takasuka is one of Japan’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. But it doesn’t make sense to continue in a venture that has diminished prospects for success.
No question, it is sad to see the company close its doors and I’m sincerely hoping that we can quickly find gigs for those who are looking to land somewhere. But, Dean said it best: “Lunarr was built to take risks.”
And while this series of risks didn’t pay off, here’s looking forward to the next risk that Toru and Hideshi take. And here’s to sincerely hoping that they choose to continue taking those risks here in the Silicon Forest.