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Twilio has shut down its business messaging service after purchasing Zipwhip last year for $850M


Zipwhip’s office in Seattle, now a hub for Twilio. (Zipwhip Photo)

Twilio will sunset Zipwhip’s software after acquiring the Seattle startup for $850 million last year.

According to the latest update on Zipwhip’s support page, the business texting service will permanently shut down on Dec. 1, 2023. Customers will not be able to cancel their subscriptions or change contracts until April 30, 2023.

Twilio is a business communication software company that offers SMS products like Twilio Frontline or Twilio Flex.

“After thoughtful deliberation, our joint leadership determined that the necessary path forward to provide streamlined communications solutions is to phase out the Zipwhip software product,” a Twilio spokesperson said in an email to GeekWire.

In a FAQ dedicated to the Zipwhip shutdown, Twilio notes that it “does not have a similar service to Twilio Zipwhip that is ‘out-of-the-box’ ready so there is no migration path after the Zipwhip services shut down.”

Twilio cites its partners Podium and Voxie as possible replacements.

“As part of the transition, Zipwhip employees have been integrated into Twilio’s Messaging team where we continue to partner to deliver exceptional services to our joint customers,” the spokesperson said. “Today, former Zipwhip employees in the Pacific Northwest region participate in Twilio’s Seattle Hub.

Zipwhip generated $34 million for Twilio in the second quarter, about 3.6% of the company’s total revenue, according to Twilio’s most recent earnings report.

Founded in 2007, Zipwhip originally targeted consumers and set out to be the “Facebook of text messaging.” But it pivoted around 2013, taking a different approach by working with wireless carriers to enable hundreds of millions of business landlines to receive and send text messages. This allowed companies to text with their customers from landline phones, VoIP services, and toll-free numbers.

Twilio’s purchase of Zipwhip was the biggest in Seattle startup history. According to PitchBook, Zipwhip raised $92.5million and was worth $261.5million in January 2019.

LinkedIn reports that John Lauer (Zipwhip founder) remains with Zipwhip as CEO. James Lapic is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder.

Twilio actually started in Seattle 13 years ago, the brainchild of founder Jeff Lawson, who previously served as one of the first product managers at Amazon Web Services. Later, the company moved to San Francisco. Lawson is still the CEO.

Twilio’s stock has fallen more than 70% this year amid the broader market downturn.

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