Monday, May 2, 2011

3Jam Group Messaging startup Acquired or Fire Sale

Well not sure if 3Jam is the first victim of Group Messaging war. From their website it looks like they have been purchased. There is no news about the company that bought 3Jam. It just says that the intellectual property has been purchased . Being in the startup industry for so long “IPR” buyout is not a very positive exit. 3JAM was one of the early bird in Group Messaging space. Too me it looks like a fire sale. I had written about 3Jam way back in 2007. According to Forbes blog , the Ceo of the company has been hired as a senior product manager at Skype. Does it mean 3Jam was acquired by Skype?

Finding little traction in the Group Messaging space, 3Jam tried getting into different product direction. In fact they even tried imitating Google Voice type features . Iam not sure how many subscribers were using 3Jam Google Voice type feature. I doubt it was anything significant.

The Group Messaging space has been gaining lot of momentum. There are so many companies( GroupMe, Beluga, FastSociety, WhatsApp, Kik, Yobongo, Disco, TextPlus etc) going after the big billion dollar SMS/MMS market. These are all new crop of companies that started just a year back. Most of these companies have been well funded and are seeing good traction. Even Facebook is betting big in the Messaging space. They recently acquired Beluga, another Group Messaging startup. But group messaging is not something new that has been invented recently. There were lot of Group Messaging companies that started( 3Jam, Peekamo, Moblabber, Swarmteams, Zemble, Joopz etc) in 2005-2007 timeframe with little or no success. What changed now? I guess back then it was all about regular mobile handset with clunky/awful messaging user interface. All that changed after the launch of iPhone and the Androids. The UI on these phones are very intuitive and easy to use. Also the App store business model changed the way people communicate with each other. You can send and receive SMS/MMS messages using some of these apps without paying a penny to the operator provided you have a data package. There is a fundamental shift in the way people communicate with each other.

Here is the message posted on 3Jam website:

May 2, 2011
We are happy to announce that the intellectual property underlying 3jam's products and services have been purchased.
Since launching 3jam in 2006, we've appreciated all of the enthusiasm of our users, partners, and investors who have supported our service and helped us grow to nearly four million users globally!
We are proud to be one of the first companies to launch group messaging and a virtual number product that has enabled people to bring their landline and wireless numbers into the cloud. 3jam has been committed to providing innovative and efficient ways for people to communicate, and we are looking forward to seeing these technologies further developed and delivered in a new strategic direction.
3jam's web site and service will be shut down in the coming months, with details on that transition plan to be provided at a later date. Please stay tuned.

Enlai Chu
3jam, Inc.

Stay tuned for more juicy details.

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