Today is a special day. For a tech company, 9 years is a long time. In 9 years, GROU.PS has become a profitable business, a leading private social networking company, and most importantly (for me and my colleagues) a fun place to innovate in social networking (and perhaps one of the only few remaining alive and independent).
Having fun is not the main factor in running a business, particularly when you have stakeholders waiting for increased shareholder value. At Grou.ps, as the CEO, I’m fortunate to have very patient backers , yet I don’t lose sight of my fiduciary duties. Therefore, I have decided to make certain drastic changes to our business.
- We will focus all our time and resources into our most active vertical: health & fitness. Not only has the lifetime value of health & fitness communities always been high, with churn being an important metric in all SaaS businesses, but now the company can better cater to the needs of this segment, and apply a more reasonable pricing structure across the board.
- We will not leave anybody behind. All our existing customers will be supported uninterruptedly and forever. Global brands like Nikon, chapters of phenomenal TEDx events, and regional giants like Arcelik continue to trust our platform.
Yet, some of our context/group focused social networking experimentations will be shelved:
- Babyzilla: A mobile social network experiment for families will be discontinued. It was a great way for us to experiment with Facebook’s then-nascent advertising platform and it was our first foray into mobile. (Turns out HTML 5 wasn’t the best choice. Hence we’ve switched to native apps with GymGroups).
- Altay-OS: Our group/social focused mobile operating system concept. The code will reside in our repositories but we won’t touch it for a foreseeable future.
- Kontextful: Our browser plugin (written in hack language) is to determine the social context of a web page. Patents are filed, but the product will remain in private beta for a foreseeable future.
On this note, I want to thank tens of thousands of customers we’ve had, most of them we’re still serving and will continue to do so, the 350,000+ online communities that have been built on our platform, and all the 13,000,000 people registered on these groups. With this expertise and focus, we have a vision to reach an even greater number of people, 150 million gym-goers worldwide.
Long live GymGroups,
Emre Sokullu, Founder and CEO of GymGroups