Twitter acquires Sphere, Nick D’Aloisio’s free chat app

Jack Dorsey creator, co-founder and president of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Square arrives on stage at the 2021 Bitcoin Convention, a cryptocurrency conference held at the Mana Convention Center in Wynwood on June 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida .

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LONDON – Twitter has announced the acquisition of a chat app called Sphere, co-founded by British serial entrepreneur Nick D’Aloisio.

Incorporated in 2016, Sphere started as a real-time question and answer app that involved micropayments before becoming a group chat app.

Between 2017 and 2019, he 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 to have an impact to partner with the right companies at the right time that have similar visions and ideas,” D’Aloisio told CNBC on a call.

About 500,000 people used the first version of the app, D’Aloisio said, but declined to comment on the latest user counts.

Terms of the deal, which was announced on Wednesday and will see around 20 Sphere employees join Twitter, were not disclosed. But D’Aloisio said “everyone is happy”.

Sphere said in a blog post that it “stop” its stand-alone product in November following the acquisition. “Obviously Sphere was our own thing and it’s no longer relevant to what Twitter is trying to achieve,” D’Aloisio said.

The entrepreneur added that he and his team would work alongside Twitter employees to try to take the “vision” they had at Sphere and “integrate it into various parts” of Twitter.

Nick Caldwell, vice president of engineering at Twitter, announced the acquisition of Sphere through his company’s social network.

“The expertise of the Sphere team and the passion for leadership in finding ways to help people connect will help accelerate our roadmaps for communities, DMs and creators,” he said. .

D’Aloisio sold his first startup, a mobile news app called Summly, to Yahoo for $ 30 million in 2013, when he was 17. He spent two and a half years as a product manager at Yahoo before becoming an “entrepreneur in residence” at Airbnb, where he worked with Chesky.

He started Sphere while studying computer science and philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he met his co-founder, Tomas Halgas.

Over the years, Twitter has acquired several other UK start-ups, the best known being TweetDeck. It also bought artificial intelligence companies Magic Pony Technology, Fabula.ai and Aiden.ai.

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