Question: Is it worth reviving a stalled startup project?

I am facing a situation where I invested a year of my life to have my startup idea be successfully vetted by a well known incubator only to have my technical partner bail out as he had the sudden realization that the startup life was not for him. We were in the middle of our private beta when this happened and once he left I shut the project down.

I have recently found a possible new tech partner and was wondering if it is worth reviving the project, or should I just move on. How can I objectively assess?

4 Expert Insights

Thanks, good question. There are two areas of consideration, how your project might fare in the marketplace at this time, and how much energy/passion you have to relaunch. If you're less than an 8 out of 10 in both areas, move on.

This is always tough...It's a very personal decision. I had the same type of situation happen to me twice. Once I walked away (the right move), and once I didn't (also the right move). So it all depends. Objectively - Is the project worth doing regardless of who is involved? Do you believe it's a winner because the pro forma and other indicators show it will be successful?

If a project or business shows objectively (using the numbers and projections) that it will be a viable and successful cash generator, then you have your answer.

But even so...the final decision will still be emotional or subjective. Yes, the company or project can succeed, but do you feel committed to seeing it through to its full implementation. If your don't have the desire or commitment to do it, then walk away.

Doesn't it really depend on your goals? Certainly, you had passion for it at some point. What was the reason behind the initial founding of the company? Was there a compelling market to go after? Does that market still exist? And how far along are you in the project? How much of a pivot would you have to make?

If you have some funds, you might consider testing the waters in a very closed release, but your work is just beginning. What you think is the product will likely change dramatically once it sees the light of day.

All good answers here.  I wouldn't assume that just because the incubator vetted your idea that it will be successful in the marketplace.   There are over 1100 incubators in the country with dozens of companies in each.

What are your specific concerns?  Have you taken a critical look at the business plan?  Do you want assurance that your idea can succeed?  Are finances an issue?  Are you concerned about taking on another new partner yet have many unanswered questions?  If so, there are options.  

I might suggest you prioritize the hard questions, get them answered using sources that are unbiased, and then make your decision.  And just because you decide to move forward now doesn't mean you're committing the rest of your life to it.  You can create a series of go/no go hurdles that might provide some peace of mind as you move forward.  For example, your first hurdle might be conducting 5 interviews with potential customers to confirm your value proposition.  You may decide that you won't bring on a full partner until you've reached a specific hurdle.  That will allow you to increment your way without feeling like you're making a huge commitment - either financially or from a partner commitment standpoint.