Business development / DC / Events

These brave tech founders shared their stories of failure at FuckUp Nights DC

FuckUp Nights DC partnered with DC Startup Week to bring creative storytelling to the world of failure.

FuckUp Nights DC takes over 1776. (Photo by Michelai Graham)
Have you ever fucked up so bad and felt the need to share your failure story with an audience? There’s an event for that.

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 1776 hosted FuckUp Nights DC. This is the second time the storytelling organization has partnered with DC Startup Week. Three groups of founders got the opportunity to share their stories about failure with the D.C. tech community, with complimentary drinks in hand (sponsored by TriNet).

“FuckUp Nights is a pretty provocative concept,” FuckUp Nights DC co-chair Vanessa Ferragut told “First, is the fact we’re all using the F word so freely. Secondly, is because we’re allowing people to be real, embrace their mistakes, and even celebrate these”

FuckUp Nights is a global initiative that allows people to share their stories of failure with an audience and discuss how they learned from them. (It’s not dissimilar to’s long-running #Failfest series.) The D.C. chapter was launched in 2014 for a short period of time before being relaunched in 2017 by co-chairs Ferragut and Alexandra Shaw.

Here’s a rundown of the tech founders who did their best Jim Calhoun impressions shared their experiences:

Philip DiMuro and Dave Phelan

  • Both attended the same college and are best friends. They started two businesses together, the first business being Loople, a mobile app designed to connect people with local food, drinks and happy hours in Baltimore. When they noticed glitches in their business model, the company came to a halt. (You can read about their ill-fated expansion to D.C. in 2016 right here.) DiMuro and Phelan ditched Loople to launch Founders Approach, a startup consulting company that helps entrepreneurs with development options. The Loople app remains active even though the two founders have moved on.

Josh Lewis

  • Lewis founded roofing company JGL Roofing & Exteriors a few years after graduating from college with an engineering degree. He wanted to start an honest roofing company, where people can search different roofing and home exterior options online. When the going got rough with finances, Lewis dipped out to Europe for a month to explore and relax. When he returned, he completely reworked his business model to what JGL Roofing & Exteriors is today.

Andrew Garcia

  • Garcia is the CTO and cofounder of Goodshuffle, an online marketplace for the event rental industry. He graduated with a degree in computer science and previously ran a record label called G3 Entertainment that he took over from his brother. During this venture, Garcia learned about how valuable a good business reputation is. Goodshuffle was originally a marketplace for peer-to-peer lending but when Garcia and cofounder Erik Dreyer noticed that the idea of sharing things with your neighbors was out of the ordinary, they changed the business model and marketplace to focus in on the event rental industry.

Contact FuckUp Nights DC at if you’re interested in speaking at a future event.

FuckUp Nights attendees pose for a photo.

FuckUp Nights attendees pose for a photo. (Photo by Michelai Graham)

Companies: Startup Weekend DC / 76 Forward / Techstars

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