It’s no secret that there’s been a major amount of controversy surrounding Color, the photo sharing app that launched earlier this year with $41 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank (Sequoia apparently put $25 million in). Color’s debut was one of the most-hyped launches the tech world has seen over the past year, and since then the company has been plagued with executive departures, and a struggling product. Sequoia partner Doug Leone, who sits on Color’s board and led the investment, sat down with us last week at TechCrunch Disrupt to talk about what he refers to as his most exciting investment in the past year (he begins talking about Color at the 4 minute mark in the video below).
Leone says of Color and its founder Bill Nguyen, the startup has a “passionate founder who had a loud introduction of a product that didn’t hit the market or bulls-eye,” he says candidly. “But give me an entrepreneur with a lot of courage, gusto and who iterates rapidly, and I will back that person day in and day out.”
Clearly Leone doesn’t have any regrets about his investment. But he also admits that things did go wrong with the launch of Color. He revealed that Sequoia only invested three days before the scheduled launch of Color, and that the debut of the app had some weak points.
He says of the negative press Color received post-launch—”The main reason the company received that feed back is because of a big splash announcement with not a lot to show for it early on.” He adds that Nguyen and his team have been iterating in the public eye, which is especially hard for a startup.
But Leone still seems bullish on Color’s future. He said that Sequoia is “thrilled” to be an investor in the company, and cautions us to “stay tuned about what Color has up its sleeve.” He’s referring to Blue, which is Color’s next project. We don’t have too many details on what Blue is, but we do know that it’s a new mobile app with deep ties into Facebook Photos. We could find out more this upcoming week at Facebook’s developer conference F8.
Nguyen has to be feeling massive amounts of pressure with this upcoming launch. Color’s fate could be tied to Blue. One failed product is acceptable, but two failed products can be tough for any startup (even with $41 million in backing) to rebound from. Leone actually told me after the interview that he’s been testing Color’s new product and said “it’s awesome.” Clearly he’s biased, but the positivity he has for the company overall makes me think that whatever Color does have up its sleeve could be compelling. We’ll hopefully find out more this week.