Extremely-Hyped Startup Fails to Live Up to Extreme Hype

Months before a grilled cheese sandwich raised $10 million in funding, the iPhone app Color was the tech bubble doomsayer's startup of choice. The company raised a staggering $41 million in funding for a non-existent photo-sharing service nobody really understood. So, where is it now? Take a guess.

Color launched in March to insane buzz, thanks to its $41 million funding—more than Yahoo paid for Flickr in 2005—its charismatic founder, Bill Nguyen, and the fact it paid $350,000 for the domain Color.com. Nobody really understood what it was supposed to do—something about "elastic social networks" and also "transforming the way people communicate with each other?"—but what it did do was let you stalk people having a better time than you.

So, quiz time: about three months after launch, where is Color now?


a) Color has changed the way we communicate with each other. High school kids have abandoned the text and talk functions of their phones for Color. "Color me!" has entered the lexicon, and the app was recently used to track down the killer in a particularly gruesome episode of Law & Order SVU.

b) Color has a modest-but-growing user base and is well on its way to carving out a niche among the many photo-sharing apps.


c) The few users who didn't abandon Color the day after its disastrous, confusing launch still don't really understand what it does. Color's president has been fired and engineers are scrambling in their spacious Palo Alto office, complete with "beanbag chairs, tents for napping and a hand-built half-pipe skateboard ramp," according to the New York Times.

The correct answer is… c) but don't count Color out yet. They've still got tens of millions of dollars to piss away. [NYT, image via AP]