It was a simple premise during the height of the selfie hype: take a photo of yourself as well as what’s in front of you. It was called a “frontback .”
Now it’s called “an idea that never really got super traction.” This of course after rumors that Twitter was interested in acquiring the team and app a few years back.
The company raised nearly $4M and their investors read like a who’s who in Silicon Valley investment: Alexis Ohanian, Charlie Cheever, Fuel Capital, Garry Tan, Harjeet Taggar, Index Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Michael Arrington, Michael Birch, Susa Ventures, SV Angel, Betaworks, Hudson River Angels, Jared Hecht, Seedcamp, Steve Martocci and Taavet Hinrikus.
Jack Dorsey was a huge fan, so was Ashton Kutcher. But alas, the time has come to move onto something else. When you turn to your friend and say the name of a company and that person says “I totally forgot about them,” then this kind of thing shouldn’t surprise. The company behind Frontback is going to keep tinkering on new ideas with whatever cash it has left, one could guess.
Here’s the full message from the founder, the app will shut down on August 15th (your data is available to grab until September 15th, though):
I’m Fredd, the founder and designer of Frontback. I’ve an important message to share with you today.
Frontback started exactly two years ago with the simple idea to capture a moment. No vanity numbers, no filters: it’s “me now” — at the center of Frontback is you, your everyday moments happening now.
This was a fresh idea and truly the heart of our vision, a concept that’s seeing massive adoption today. Unfortunately, Frontback is not the winner.
We created Frontback to inspire you to be curious about other cultures, new people, exploring new places in the world, sharing your moments with your friends and the community. The past two years have been quite amazing, our community grew from zero to two million.
As much as this number seems like an incredible milestone, the reality is different. We’ve been working hard to help you to have your friends join Frontback. For some of you it worked, cities like Ann Arbor, Brussels and Tokyo embraced the platform and we cannot be more grateful for all your help inviting your friends and families to join the community.
While we’ve seen exciting results with some communities, for most of the new members it takes too much time and effort to understand why Frontback is different, resulting in an infrequent use of our product. After discussions with our team and investors, we realized that we couldn’t reach the critical numbers that would make Frontback a sustainable social network.
Frontback as a service will be winding down on August 15th. On this page we provide you with an easy way to export all your photos. Your data will be available to download until September 15th, 2015. After this date, all photos and data will be permanently deleted from our servers. During the transition, Frontback for iOS will be updated as a camera app without social interactions nor feeds, and Frontback for Android will be removed from the Play Store.
We know how much many of you love Frontback as we’ve built it with your help over the past two years. We all made new friends and hope to stay connected with you, it’s been the highlight of our lives!
As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Frontback — a fun and beautiful way to capture your moments — will continue to live on the Internet. The company behind Frontback stays alive and we cannot thank enough our investors for their support with this thoughtful decision to experiment with new ideas.
We’re so very grateful for the love of our community, our investors, and our families. Because we owe you everything, we’ll be answering your questions in the comments below, and if you’re too shy to ask publicly, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for everything,
— Fredd and Melvyn
This also isn’t the only time the company and app almost/did die. Watch this video to hear more about that: