Back in more innocent times, our intrepid reporter Adrianne Jeffries went down to SXSW to cover the group messaging wars. A clutch of startups including Beluga, GroupMe, Kik and Fast Society were all battling to be the breakout star. GroupMe did the grilled cheese party, Fast Society countered with the shuttle bus from the airport.
Since then, Beluga was bought by Facebook and GroupMe got acquired by Skype. Kik is still going, but last night Fast Society, always the wildest of the bunch, announced they were shutting down their messaging service and moving on to a new app, Cameo, they will be launching in January.
Fast Society built reply-all for text messages, but it’s not counting on that to make money. “The last thing we want to be is a utility,” co-founder Matthew Rosenberg told Untether TV. What they’re really selling is the brand. “The days of engineering being a focus are somewhat over,” he said. “This is going to be a business of personalities and brands… it’s got to be more than just technology,” he said.
ZOMGS. We hear TripMedi, the New York winner of the Startup Bus competition, has a Y Combinator interview this weekend. Also, we have their deck.
FAST SOCIETY SPENDING DOLLARS. Fast Society is hiring for a UI developer to “craft consistent, elegant UI with continuity between the web and mobile apps.
Heyyy, rumor roundup!
We’re hearing that Fast Society has some potential suitors hot to get their hands on the app that’s built to party. Is it Andrew W.K.?! We asked FS, and they “don’t comment on rumors,” but the company implied they’d be open to an offer. “We are going to do whatever is right for our business and vision,” co-founder Matthew Rosenberg said in an email.
App for That
The group texting app most talked about at SXSW, at least on Twitter, which is what really counts, was GroupMe. That’s according to some analysis from folks at the interactive Pop Agency.
Pop looked at tweets from March 11-15 about GroupMe, Beluga, Fast Society, Kik and Yobongo. Not only did GroupMe garner the most chatter, 19 percent of that chatter was positive, nearly double the next most popular.