Seattle startup Atlas Informatics, led by Napster co-founder Jordan Ritter, plans to shut down and stop offering its search technology as of Oct. 25, according to a message posted on the Atlas site and sent to users Wednesday.
The Atlas technology, which debuted nearly a year ago, acted as a personal search engine, running in the background on users’ computers to capture an encrypted record of activity across different apps and services. The idea was to help users quickly locate information within files, emails, and other sources.
“Atlas was born to solve the growing pain of digital chaos that we all feel in our lives,” the company says in the message to customers. “We joined the fight because we saw information overload as a righteous cause.”
The company raised more than $20 million from Microsoft, Aspect Ventures and Intellectual Ventures co-founder Nathan Myhrvold. Atlas cut nearly a third of its staff in March, leaving it with 23 employees at the time.
Atlas says in the message on its site, “While we had to shut down Atlas, we are nevertheless very proud of what we achieved, and we are all looking forward to building future innovations with the goal of improving people’s lives. Our biggest and deepest thank you to all of the employees, customers, friends and family that have sacrificed their time to the dream of Atlas.”
The message informs customers, “To ensure your privacy, all system data will be electronically shredded on Thursday, October 26, 2017.” No reason for the closure is cited. We’ve contacted Ritter for more information.
Atlas was spun out of Ritter’s Ivy Softworks, an “innovation studio” that was originally intended to produce multiple startups. Ritter said previously that he put Ivy Softworks “on pause” to put his full attention on Atlas.