The tech-failure-to-TV pipeline is strong. On Hulu, The Dropout is dramatizing Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos scandal, Showtime’s Super Pumped is giving Uber’s behind-the-scenes drama the prestige TV treatment, while Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto take on the WeWork disaster in Apple’s WeCrashed.
On Tuesday, a harried Hollywood screenwriter no doubt began scribbling down pilot ideas for the latest tech tragedy: the shocking, sudden closure of the VC darling and one-click checkout startup Fast.
Fast & Furiously Looking For Revenue
Known as a fast talker, Fast founder Domm Holland is quite the character. He first made a splash in his native Australia by buying the domain Qant.as for just $20 and allegedly selling it to Qantas Airways for $1.3 million. His next venture, Tow.com.au, the “Uber of towing”, went bankrupt after a legal dispute with the Australian government. With millions reportedly owed to contractors, according to NPR, Holland skipped to the US.
In March 2019, the intrepid entrepreneur launched Fast, a one-click tool storing password and payment information that aimed to accelerate e-commerce checkouts. The company raised $124 million since it launched, according to Crunchbase, highlighted by a massive $102 million Series B in January 2021 led by leading payment-processing fintech firm Stripe. But on Tuesday, after The Information reported the company’s high burn rate and lackluster revenue growth made it far from a worthy investment, the startup suddenly shut down:
- Fast generated just $600,000 last year, all while hiring nearly 400 employees and routinely running through more than $10 million a month, according to The Information. It also sought — and subsequently failed — to raise a $100 million Series C late last year.
- Pitchbook data suggested the company was worth just over half a billion dollars. Internally, Fast’s “conservative” estimates projected unicorn status, with some even believing it would eventually be a $12 billion company, according to NPR.
Holland, who once rolled up to a press conference in a NASCAR truck, calls himself “the world’s fastest CEO.” He may be right: He’s in contention for the title of fastest CEO to ever burn through $100 million in funding.