History is littered with tales of seemingly ingenious but ultimately flawed business ideas, from Pepsi’s Breakfast Cola to Four Loko’s dangerous beverage range that combined alcohol and caffeine.
Not only this, but even the best and most commercially viable ideas fail to realise their full potential, due to a host of issues surrounding funding, sustainable demand and the people charged with bringing a business concept to life.
These failures have left investors licking their wounds and counting their losses, including a number of the world’s most recognisable celebrities. Here are some examples of famous people who bet their house on a project only to see it ultimately fail:
Natalie Portman and Vegan Footwear
In case you hadn’t noticed, veganism has become increasingly popular in recent times, with the number of Brits now enjoying a meat and dairy free diet having risen to 3.5 million.
Before this trend began to take hold across the western world, however, actress Natalie Portman was encouraged to invest a heap of money into the new vegan footwear line Te Casan back in 2008.
Not only was this idea ahead of its time and exceptionally niche, however, but the expensive and visually unappealing nature of the products meant that consumer demand never really got off the ground.
The business ultimately folded after just a few months, and while Portman deserves credit for sticking to her principles, the same cannot be said for her level of business acumen.
Sven Goran Eriksson and the ill-Fated Real Estate
Best known as the man who took England to the World Cup quarter finals in 2002 and 2006, the affable Swede Sven Goran Eriksson has also built considerable personal wealth during his career.
During this time, he decided to invest some of this in a number of international real estate deals, at the suggestion of his seemingly experienced and erstwhile financial advisor Samir Khan.
Ultimately, the Swede invested in a number of international properties, only to see his property portfolio decline in value to the tune of £10 million.
His advisor has since been declared bankrupt too, following a host of investment blunders and a series of questionable decisions over a period of years.
Darren Gough and the Ponzi Scheme
Our last case is arguably the most poignant, as it involves an outright scam and targeted the lovable Darren Gough (who was also less well-off than our previous entrants on the lift).
Sure, the former Yorkshire and England cricketer didn’t have to borrow from a lender like Ocean Finance or bet his house on his investment, but he did lose a huge sum of money that he could ill-afford.
This happened when Gough became embroiled in a complex Ponzi scheme, which was overseen by businessman Nandan Pruthi (who has since been sentenced to 14 years and six months for the fraud).
The scheme, which sought to pay profits to older investors with money garnered from newcomers, also reached out to Kevin Petersen and is said to have involved up to 600 people.
Gough ultimately lost a cool £1 million, while authorities said that the scam was the biggest of its type ever operated in the UK.