Today in startup shutdowns: Shelfie, Edusight, Sentinel Alert


This week, several Canadian companies made the tough decision most startups eventually face: to shut down operations. Due to the overlapping shutdowns, BetaKit has compiled a list of the startups closing their doors in the coming months.

Shelfie shutting down on February 28

In an email sent to users on January 30, Vancouver-based Shelfie told users that it would promptly shut down the next day. The team advised users to re-download DRM-free books, and warned that they would no longer have access to DRM books.

“We started Shelfie with the idea of connecting books and readers and we have worked hard over the past four years to make that a reality,” the email read. “We are grateful for the support we have received from amazing readers like you, who have been a part of Shelfie.”

While Shelfie officially ceased operations, the company wrote on its website that Kobo offered to continue the service until February 28.

“In the end the unit economics of ebook sales just don’t make much sense if you don’t own the platform like Apple, Google, or Amazon,” Shelfie founder Peter Hudson told The Digital Reader.

Shelfie launched in 2013, and allowed users to take pictures of shelves of books and find out which ones are available as free or discounted ebooks or audiobooks. The startup, formerly called BitLit, snagged big brand partnerships like HarperCollins and Elsevier.

In May 2014, the company raised an undisclosed seed round from Kobo founder and current LEAGUE CEO Mike Serbinis and Three Angels Capital. Crunchbase lists that number at $835,000, and to date, the startup has raised $910,000.

Sentinel Alert shuts down operations

According to a report from Entrevestor, St. John’s-based Sentinel Alert is shutting down.

Sentinel Alert developed sensor-based software that could detect when a worker had an accident, or is at risk of having one. The company launched at the first-ever Startup Weekend in St. John’s, and since then has gone on to raise a $525,000 seed round. In 2015, the company was accepted to Communitech’s Women Entrepreneurs bootcamp and took home the $35,000 top prize.

The company also partnered with the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).

“The last two-plus years have been the wildest journey of my life,” founder Sarah Murphy said on Facebook. “This was undoubtedly one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and over the coming weeks I will reflect and share more about what led to this outcome.”

Edusight shutting down on June 30

On June 30, Toronto-based Edusight will be ceasing operations after three years.

Edusight‘s platform took a two-pronged approach to helping teachers capture student learning: a Classroom tool that let teachers keep track of notes, photos, and audio, and its Magic tool that allowed teachers to work with the data gleaned from the Classroom tool. At the same time it launched the tool in August, Edusight partnered with three school districts in Toronto.

When it first launched in May 2014, the startup showed some promise: the startup was accepted into the Silicon Valley-based Imagine K12 accelerator, and partnered with Pearson to gain access to 13 million students across North America.

Users will have access to the platform until 11:59 p.m. EST on June 30. “While it’s upsetting to say goodbye to Edusight, we tried our best and we’re thankful for the support from our team members, clients, users, and investors,” the company wrote on its website.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

0 replies on “Today in startup shutdowns: Shelfie, Edusight, Sentinel Alert”