Only the Strong Survive in Start-Up Clone Nation

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The start up clone world is beginning to contend with its destiny that only so many versions of the same idea can exist. And today we're seeing that fate unfold in front of our eyes, with one of the many "Airbnb of office space" concepts shutting its doors for good. Looscubes is no more, the company announced in a blog post. The company doesn't give "being a start-up clone" as the reason for its sudden shut-down. (It doesn't give any reason at all, actually.) But, it was one of the many selling the rent-a-cube for the mobile worker idea, a play off of Airbnb's vacation rental concept. This Quora thread gives a run-down of "all of sites that do 'Airbnb for office space.'" That gives at least 20 similar services, which offer temporary for-rent office spaces for the remote worker, in some form or another. So, with all the competition for the same idea, not everyone can survive. And with that we say c'est la vie to Loosecubes. And, we predict that it is not the last to follow this path. (Remember, that's what happened—en masse—to all those Groupon clones.) 

If only a few clones can survive, then why do these companies even try? Well, all these companies are hankering to get into that "Airbnb of office space" space because the sharing economy is a lucrative cultural phenomenon, as Airbnb's success proves. So, as the start-up logic goes, something like it but slightly different will be successful, too. That theory will work for maybe one or two companies, the Groupons and Living Socials, if you will. (So far it's working for the "Airbnb of dogs.)" But in this scenario that company is certainly not Loosecubes. Even though, as of five months ago it had investor interest, getting $7.8 million from New Enterprise Associates and Revolution Ventures, bringing the company to a total of $9 million in funding. In the cutthroat world of start-up clone nation, it wasn't enough. 

We've reached out to the company for an official explanation about the closure. We will update this post if we get any clarification. 

Update 1:13 p.m.: Loosecubes responded to our inquiry for comment saying the information on its blog gives all the information that is currently available about the closure. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.