How Celi fails

Identifying, addressing, and overcoming the greatest risks to Celi

Richie Crowley


In Celi’s deck, there’s a slide titled “Why not to invest in Celi.”

It lists defensibility, carrying capacity, and cold start problem as risks and includes how we’ve indexed for each with peer-reviewed strategies and audits from those who have previously overcome these same risks.

Though this slide is absent in reference decks, including it feels like the most honest and responsible thing to do.

90% of new startups fail, 10% don’t survive the first year, and tech startups have the highest failure rate of any industry in the US.

What this slide omits is an even greater risk to Celi: Me.

Only 18% of first-time founders succeed.

Parallel to beta-testing Celi, I’ve been examining myself as a point of failure in a premortem exercise.

The good news is that I’ve only found one guaranteed way to fail: Quit.

An unlikely source Seth Rogen put it well, “If you don’t quit, you might make it. If you quit, you definitely won’t.”

As long as I don’t quit, Celi has a chance.

The exercise then evolved into identifying what would lead me to quit and found three quitting points:

  1. Conviction
  2. Runway
  3. Recruitment

Conviction risk

Celi’s beta test has 120+ users across 9 countries, 15.87% WoW growth, a 77.57% conversion rate, a 2.02 viral coefficient, and 0% churn.

Embedded in Celi’s product DNA is product-led acquisition, product-led expansion, and product-led retention.

Of the 5 business models that underpin billions in value, at maturity, Celi has 3.

Each day, Celi’s simplicity, utility, and impact continue to excite.

Still, a 20-year-old rattled my conviction by telling me Celi won’t work because it isn’t fun.

He’s right. Celi isn’t fun.

Celi’s also not not fun.

Celi is a social utility product, what you do with the utility Celi provides is what…



Richie Crowley

Slowly building an audience by publishing original thoughts and ideas only when I have something of quality to say.