When Cola formally launched in 2016, bot technology was still in its infancy but showed promise with Slack, Kik, Microsoft, and Facebook all getting in on the act. Nearly 12 months later, Cola finds itself on the downside of this trend and is in the process of selling its messaging app assets to Layer for $75,000, with the expectation that it will be subsequently shut down, VentureBeat has learned. It is not yet clear if the deal has closed.
Layer declined to comment.
Cola’s messaging operating system offered “bubbles” that were supposed to streamline conversations and eliminate needless text-a-thons. Initially, there were six pre-installed bubbles, essentially templated messages with actions, before the company added more and opened it up to third-party developers last summer.
Bubbles that exist now include being able to track your flight, watch YouTube videos, add animated GIFs through Giphy, display the weather, create a poll, manage a conference call, share a to-do list, send your location, find out times to meet, take a photo or video, access your media library, and inform others you’re on your way.
“Cola was always envisioned as more than ‘just another messaging app’,” company chief executive David Temkin said in July. “It’s an extensible platform that empowers developers to build their own vision for the future of messaging.”
It’s not known how popular Cola and its bubble development kit (BDK) were, but the company has run out of cash, according to a document we obtained. Layer is buying Cola’s technology, but not the team, although the company is bringing on board two of Cola’s engineers, likely to continue running the product and integrating it into the communication infrastructure.
The company did look for a deal that would have benefited both the team and the technology, but none of the businesses that Cola spoke with were interested.
Layer is a communication infrastructure service similar to Twilio, but focused on chat messaging. It launched in 2013 with the aim of helping developers implement messaging capabilities into their apps without spending countless hours building it themselves.
The addition of Cola’s technology may benefit Layer’s customers, introducing new ways for users to communicate within a text message. Developers hopefully will be able to instantly slide these new capabilities right into their apps without having to do it all manually.
Cola had raised $1.3 million in venture capital, with funding coming from Tribeca Angels, Tribe of Angels, Steve Case, Brad Garlinghouse, and Naval Ravikant.