Goodbye from the Shaken founders

15th June 2016

Last week we shipped the final Shaken box: this is the end of our startup.

That’s the hardest thing we’ve ever had to write.

Despite trying everything, we couldn’t quite make it through a tricky cash-flow period to get to the scale we needed. This is the end of the road for us and that breaks our heart.

We wanted to write this to explain why, and to thank you.

As David said:

We went from not knowing what we were doing to becoming “a leading voice in the world of cocktails” because the best way to become an expert is to do something nobody has ever done before. We all became experts in our field. We all pioneered a new way of doing booze. We all defied convention and did it the hard way.

But that was not enough.

Without new investment, we couldn’t scale fast enough to make the business successful. The upsetting irony is that we were starting to see industry-leading retention numbers, more and more spirit brands sign up exclusively, and many other indicators that we were at the tipping point. No business has an innate right to succeed, but we gave it everything.

The Shaken crew and our backers have been kept up to date every step of the way, so this will not be a surprise, but we wanted to write a note to the wider community as many of you supported Shaken through your advice, articles, by buying a box, telling friends about us and more.

None of us started their careers in spirits and every day we were honoured and humbled to be welcomed so warmly into this fine world. People like Andy Wallace, Darren Rook, Kevin Abrook, Mark Thompson and Stephan Berg placed their trust in us. But there are more — so many more — people who offered advice, friendship and belief, all of which we needed and are so grateful for.

To our team — Dan, Danny, Jo, Kat, Paul, Roman, Troels and Toby: you meant everything to us.
What we built up so fast was a love and respect for new ideas, freedom to innovate and a great work environment. We’ll miss you but know that you’ll go on to keep doing amazing things.

To those who invested in Shaken: We’re sorry we let you down. We tried everything in our power to make this venture a success and, though we got close, it just wasn’t the right time. Most of you will benefit from SEIS/EIS tax relief, so it’s not a complete loss. Thank you for being the engine driving this journey. In particular, special thanks to Allan Sayers and Andres Varela who first believed in us and James Cronin, Bimal Shah and Duane Jackson who were great inspirations and more.

To anyone who ever made a Shaken cocktail: every day, it delighted us to see your photos, blogs, emails and comments. We set out to help you mix the best cocktails you’ve ever made and we know we succeeded at that. We’ll miss seeing your great cocktail creations and hope you’ll remember us fondly and go on to spread the word that making great drinks at home is not difficult. There is a home cocktail revolution coming and you’re the vanguard.

We poured every ounce of ourselves into Shaken. It will take a little time to accept that we won’t be steering this fine ship anymore, but we will all live to fight another day, stronger and wiser but hopefully just as ready to try new things, to experiment, to break rules and to have fun.

Are we disappointed? More than there are words. We had a shot at creating something grand and we fell short.

Would we go for it again? In a heartbeat.

Thank you.

Until the next round,