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Uber acqhires social app studio Swipe Labs

Uber acqhires social app studio Swipe Labs
From TechCrunch - July 14, 2017

Why would Uber buy a team that builds Snapchat competitors? To make its driver app feel more human. Uber has acqhired Swipe Labs, the social product studio run by Marwan Roushdy. He and a selection of engineers from the dozen-person startup will join Uber to work on the driver experience within the driver earnings team.

Over the past 4 years it had raised $8.2 million and built four apps for sharing photos, videos, and group texts. But while the terms of the acqhire werent disclosed, the deals valuation is almost surely much less than the $56 million valuation Swipe Labs scored with $5.6 million late 2014 series A from First Round, Lowercase, Sherpa, and now-disgraced Binary Capital. Thats the risk of investing in early stage social startups: the odds are against them ever capturing lightning in a bottle and growing huge.

Swipes founders Roushdy and Addison Hardy met while working at now-defunct social map app Connect. They set off to launch a furniture rental startup called Fonzy but that flopped. The two managed to raise a seed round to build Tag for privately sharing photos with groups of friends, and it too never gained traction.

But the duo took the ideas and built them into Swipe, which lets you post photos and videos that appeared in a stack alongside other users content on the Swipe home screen of friends. It grew to over a million users in the first few weeks, attracting the $5.6 million round and lofty valuation. Yet as Snapchat continued to explode in popularity, Swipe petered. out, and Hardy eventually left the company.

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