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Zipwhip’s office in Seattle, now a hub for Twilio. (Zipwhip Photo)

Twilio will sunset Zipwhip’s software after acquiring the Seattle startup for $850 million last year.

According to the latest update on Zipwhip’s support page, the business texting service will permanently shut down on Dec. 1, 2023. Twilio previously announced that the software end-of-life would take place this December, but it recently extended the deadline by a year.

Customers were given until April 30 of this year to make changes their contracts and subscriptions to Zipwhip services.

Twilio, which makes business communications software, offers its own SMS products such as Twilio Frontline and Twilio Flex, and will continue to offer its own business messaging service.

“After thoughtful deliberation, our joint leadership determined that the necessary path forward to provide streamlined communications solutions is to phase out the Zipwhip software product,” a Twilio spokesperson said in an email to GeekWire.

In a FAQ dedicated to the Zipwhip shutdown, Twilio notes that it “does not have a similar service to Twilio Zipwhip that is ‘out-of-the-box’ ready so there is no migration path after the Zipwhip services shut down.”

Twilio points to its long-time partners Podium, Voxie, and Text Request as potential replacements.

“As part of the transition, Zipwhip employees have been integrated into Twilio’s Messaging team where we continue to partner to deliver exceptional services to our joint customers,” the spokesperson said. “Today, former Zipwhip employees in the Pacific Northwest region participate in Twilio’s Seattle Hub.

Zipwhip generated $34 million for Twilio in the second quarter, about 3.6% of the company’s total revenue, according to Twilio’s most recent earnings report.

Founded in 2007, Zipwhip originally targeted consumers and set out to be the “Facebook of text messaging.” But it pivoted around 2013, taking a different approach by working with wireless carriers to enable hundreds of millions of business landlines to receive and send text messages. This allowed companies to text with their customers from landline phones, VoIP services, and toll-free numbers.

Its acquisition to Twilio was one of the largest in Seattle startup history. Zipwhip had raised $92.5 million and was valued at $261.5 million in January 2019, according to PitchBook.

Zipwhip co-founder John Lauer remains at the company as CEO, according to LinkedIn, as does co-founder and Chief Technology Officer James Lapic.

Twilio actually started in Seattle 13 years ago, the brainchild of founder Jeff Lawson, who previously served as one of the first product managers at Amazon Web Services. The company later relocated to San Francisco. Lawson remains as CEO.

Twilio’s stock has fallen more than 70% this year amid the broader market downturn.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that April 30 of this year was the final day for customers to make changes to their Zipwhip contracts and subscriptions. It was also updated to reflect that the end-of-life software date was extended by one year.

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