Update 12:31 p.m.: We spoke with Bloom.fm founder Oleg Fomenko by phone.
Music streaming startup Bloom.fm announced today that it is shutting down immediately following a highly publicized ban from Apple’s iAds advertising network. The startup, which offered both Pandora- and Spotify-like features in the U.K. exclusively, announced the news on Twitter.
In a brief statement on its site, Bloom.fm claims the shutdown is due to the company’s investor, who “unexpectedly pulled” the company’s funds. In a call with VentureBeat, founder Oleg Fomenko shares that the company’s sole investor was a TNT, a Russian television channel that withdrew following an organizational change. “It’s a bit of a surprise given the momentum that we have,” said Fomenko.
“It’s a shame that it happened exactly at a time when we could have sold — if we had the runway,” Fomenko explains.
As for the company’s iAds controversy, Bloom.fm alleges that Apple banned the startup from its ad network due to its similarity with iTunes Radio.
Here’s the shutdown statement in full:
We’ll keep this short because we’re pretty shell-shocked.
It’s game over for Bloom.fm.
Our investor, who’s been along for the ride since day one, has unexpectedly pulled our funding.
It’s come so out of the blue that we don’t have time to find new investment. So, with enormous regret, we have to shut up shop.
This is a poetically crappy turn of events as our young business was showing real promise. Our apps and web player are looking super-nice, and we had 1,158,914 registered users in a little over a year. Yep.
A massive thanks to everyone that helped us get this far. We’re absolutely gutted. But it’s been a real pleasure.
Fomenko shares that if another investor steps up and can “cough up a considerable amount of money,” this could save the service.
Bloom.fm first launched back in January 2013 and was available on both iOS and Android. A Web app was slated to launch this year.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
Chime in here, and we’ll share the results