London, Oct 22 | In a bid to strengthen its Communities, micro-blogging site Twitter has acquired a chat app called Sphere, which was co-founded by British serial entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio.
Incorporated in 2016, Sphere started out as a real-time question and answer app that involved micropayments before it pivoted to become more of a group chat app, CNBC reported.
Between 2017 and 2019, it raised around $30 million from investors including Index Ventures, Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, Tinder co-founder Sean Rad and Sequoia venture capitalist Mike Moritz.
“It’s really important and necessary in order to achieve impact to partner with the right companies at the right time that have similar visions and ideas,” D’Aloisio told CNBC.
Roughly 500,000 people used the first version of the app, D’Aloisio said, but he declined to comment on the latest user numbers.
The terms of the deal, which was announced on Wednesday and will see approximately 20 Sphere employees join Twitter, have not been disclosed. But D’Aloisio claimed “everyone is happy”.
Sphere said in a blogpost that it will be “winding down” its standalone product in November as a result of the acquisition.
“Obviously Sphere was our own thing and that’s no longer relevant to what Twitter is trying to achieve,” D’Aloisio said.
The entrepreneur added that he and his team will work alongside Twitter employees to try to take the “vision” they had at Sphere and “integrate that into various parts” of Twitter.
Nick Caldwell, vice president of engineering at Twitter, announced the acquisition of Sphere via his company’s social network.
“The Sphere team’s expertise and leadership’s passion for finding ways to help people connect will help accelerate our Communities, DM and Creators roadmaps,” he said.