Earlier this week we wrote about Wire, a new messaging app that’s backed by Skype co-founder Janus Friis and led by fellow Skype veteran Jonathan Christensen. It caught our attention not only because of Friis’ involvement, but because Wire reminded us of another messaging app created in Seattle by a company with a nearly identical name — Wire Labs.
Founded by former Amazon employees Piragash Velummylum and Jordan Timmermann, the Techstars Seattle graduate raised a $1.8 million seed round one year ago from more than 30 investors, including people like Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta, and Seattle entrepreneur Rudy Gadre.
But when we tried accessing Wire’s website on Wednesday, it was no longer being operated. Now we know why.
Wire Labs has rebranded and the startup is now developing an app for iOS and Android called “Talio,” which lets you take and send moving selfies.
“We’re still the same company — we’re just innovating in the space,” Velummylum said.
Talio’s tagline is “epic moving selfies.” The app lets users take selfies and photos that move when you tilt your phone from side to side.
“With tilt, selfies come to life,” explained Velummylum. “It brings the best of photos and the best of videos into one new format. I think when you work on consumer software/services, it’s a search process. We’ve been talking to customers about our app for a while and when we showed them tilt, it really struck a cord.”
Talio is similar to what Wire was — a messaging app with Snapchat-like qualities — but with a focus on the moving selfies. Velummylum said that tilted photos “really changes the way people take and experience selfies.”
Velummylum didn’t comment when asked if the re-brand was related to Wire, which launched earlier this week. He noted that Talio is the result of speaking and learning from users.
“You really need a concentrated group of people using your app so that you can learn about what’s important and fun, and what’s not,” he said. “You have to accept that you are going to make mistakes and the idea is to learn and iterate.”