I’m excited to announce that Twitter has acquired Squad! The team will be joining Twitter to broaden the spectrum of conversations people can have on the service. Specifically, we’ll be bringing our expertise in audio and video to the creation space — and are looking forward to building new formats that allow for fun, meaningful & engaging conversations.
Twitter is the place where the world meets up to talks to each other, and I love that we’ll get to bring new types of interaction and self-expression to hundreds of millions of customers.
As part of the acquisition we’ll be shutting down Squad on December 12th so we can focus on building inside of Twitter’s app.
The Journey That Brought Us Here
Four and a half years ago when my cofounder Ethan Sutin and I started the company we were determined to build a consumer social product whose purpose and mission was rooted in facilitating authentic connection. We saw the problem of loneliness and wanted to use technology to help solve it.
When an acquisition announcement like this is made it often reads like an overnight success, so I’d like to take a minute to disavow readers of that very flattering but incorrect idea.
Since this was my first time running a venture-backed company everything was new and I often struggled with imposter syndrome. I worried that I didn’t pattern-match with other startup CEOs in the news and at times I let that fear and anxiety get the best of me.
Many of the decisions I made during the first 18 months of the company’s life were made from a place of insecurity. I worried too much what other people thought or what other companies did. It wasn’t until I became friends with a bunch of other founders that I understood how common and normal my feelings were.
It took time for me to find my voice and confidence — but day by day, it happened. The real turning point came when we pivoted.
After multiple rejections we got into Y Combinator W18 but shortly after it ended I realized we needed to pivot the company if we wanted to succeed. For a few weeks things looked so bleak that we were talking about returning the money and shutting down. Our product wasn’t working and so we decided to give ourselves a blank slate and a fresh start, which is when the idea for Squad arrived.
When we built the prototype for Squad it was just me, Ethan, and Milan, our sole employee — plus my friend Paul, who would pop in and ideate with us. By keeping the team lean from day one we learned how to do a lot with a little, and that resourcefulness kept us alive to continue iterating until the user base started growing on its own.
We launched and then raised a seed round led by Hayley Barna at First Round Capital. I know the fund needs no introduction and already has a lot of clout in Silicon Valley, but I can now say from first-hand experience that it is well-deserved. At every point along the way they proved to be helpful, inspiring, and founder-friendly investors.
Over the past two years as we’ve built Squad, we’ve made a lot of progress toward our mission of connection. To our delight, millions of people have used the app to have interactive experiences like co-watching videos with their friends, partners and families.
When we launched in early 2019 we thought the vision of reimagining live conversational formats was important but after the pandemic hit in 2020 it took on an entirely different and more vital role. It wasn’t just something people wanted — now it was what they needed.
Like so many other companies before us, Squad was a process of trial and error. Two steps forward, then one step back. But throughout it all, we kept focused on the people we were trying to serve.
Building for a Gen Z audience has been super rewarding. Teenagers and young adults today are so savvy and clever. Unsurprisingly, our best product ideas came from simply listening to what they wanted to do with each other but couldn’t do on other platforms.
The daily stories about how Squad saved them from boredom and how using the app kept them close to their friends and boyfriends/girlfriends was life-giving for our entire team.
Speaking of the team — I am so grateful for the 7 people who helped bring this crazy idea to life: Daniel Galdamez, Alexey Zinchenko, Milan Nosal, Ahmed Murray, Paul Robinett, Marian Vanderka and Maria De Lourdes Zollo.
I feel like we climbed Mt. Everest together. Thank you for putting your time, talent and trust into Squad.
Together we pioneered new shared experiences within audio and video rooms and made watching videos from various services super simple and unique.
While I’m very proud of the product we created, I’m even more proud to have done it alongside such talented & kind people.
Squad’s Swan Song
Thank you to all of our investors — you’ve made this wild ride possible by giving us $7.2M!
Special shoutouts to a bunch of the people who believed enough to risk their money, time and reputation on us: First Round, betaworks, Halogen Ventures, BBG Ventures, Y Combinator, Dream Machine (Alexia Bonatsos), Rob Hayes, Alpha Bridge Ventures (& their Project Atlas team), Tuesday Capital, Funsize, Gina Bianchini, January Ventures, Bangaly Kaba, Shrug Capital, Sebastian Gil, Dylan Field, Sahil Lavingia, Scooter Braun, Delane Parnell, Cowboy Ventures, Jon Vlassopulos, Marcy Venture Partners, Quiet Ventures, Chernin Group, Vivek Kumar, Brian Bedol, and Laura Jones.
I hope that our exit will tip the scale a bit more toward convincing investors to put money into diverse teams because each success is another proof point that we, the historically under-capitalized and underestimated founders, are a good bet. Invest in women and people of color because we will make you money. In turn, this is a good moment to remind founders that you should choose your investors wisely because when you win you’ll be making them richer and more powerful.
As a mom of 3 kids I could not have done this without my amazing partner Robert Cowherd. I would not have wanted to do this without our crazy and wonderful kids Emma, Jude & Aria.
I’m so grateful for the relentless support and hyping-up from my friend-family, and my bio family. You’re my forever squad. (Especially you Ben Huh — you always make me feel understood and reflect back that I am capable and resilient. I wish everyone had a friend like you.)
Coming from a childhood where my mom survived on food stamps and government assistance I know I beat the odds — and that is never lost on me. There were so many teachers, friends’ parents, and random people on the internet who lifted me up to reach higher & dream bigger.
I’ve learned a lot about the tech industry and made countless connections over the years on Twitter and so it feels really full-circle and perfect to be landing the plane there.
I’m excited to continue leading a product in the conversations space and I hope that what we build makes the Internet a better place for everyone.