Fast: An Autopsy

Why the Stripe-backed checkout startup failed, and what we can learn from it

Kevin LaBuz
Marker
Published in
7 min readApr 17, 2022

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Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher. Fast, a high profile one-click checkout startup backed by Stripe, went belly up on April 5th. The company’s failure offers lessons for investors and operators.

Fast 101: Passwords Don’t Scale

Stripped to the chassis, business is basic arithmetic: cash in versus cash out. At some point, the former needs to exceed the later. If not, the lights go out. Fast, a now defunct one-click checkout startup, is a case study on the cold logic of this basic arithmetic.

Fast was founded in March 2019 by Domm Holland, a brash Australian entrepreneur and skydiving enthusiast, and Allison Barr Allen, who led Global Product Operations for the Money Team at Uber. Over its short lifespan, the company raised over $120 million and was valued at $580 million. Investors included payments giant Stripe, which led both the Series A and Series B, as well as prominent venture firms like Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and Susa Ventures.

Holland pitched Fast as bringing Amazon’s one-click checkout to the rest of the internet. The company’s goal was to speed up e-commerce transactions. Its one-click checkout button launched in September 2020 with 100 merchants. The key…

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Kevin LaBuz
Marker

Head of IR & Corporate Development at 1stDibs. Previously finance at Etsy, Indeed, and internet equity research at Deutsche Bank. Find me on Twitter @kjlabuz.