Ello is still going.
The company just landed a second funding round of $5 million, bringing its total money raised to around $11 million.
Now the company is in the process of developing a mobile edition of its network, according to a report from Mashable. The app is expected to debut this spring.
Ello’s anti-advertising social network launched to much fanfare last summer. Three months later the company was still getting a lot of attention and a barrage of account requests. By the fall, Ello was signing the paperwork for a series A round of $5.5 million.
“Ello is here to show that a business can survive — not just survive but thrive — without ads,” founder Paul Budnitz told us in an interview last year.
What remains unclear is how Ello will ultimately make money, since Budnitz is totally committed to steering clear of advertising. The founder has mused that Ello will eventually charge for premium features.
But paid features are nothing without a consumer base to buy them. Ello says its user base is in the millions, but that number doesn’t indicate whether those “users” are account holders or active users. For instance, I and many of my friends have accounts on Ello that we haven’t touched in months. Am I represented in that “millions” figure?
It’s likely that some diehards have stuck it out with Ello for its principled approach to community building, but a lot of early adopters left the platform; it failed to offer users a new experience, and its interface had some early usability issues.
How Ello will ultimately be able to draw back in the hoards of people it attracted at its onset will be its hardest challenge yet.