Poparazzi, the once-popular photo-sharing app that reached the top of the App Store in 2021, is shutting down. The company announced the news via a Medium blog late last week, informing users that the app would be discontinued and users would have until June 30, 2023 to download their content. Last year, the founders of Poparazzi at TTYL Inc. that the app had grown to over 5 million installs and confirmed the $15 million increase in Series A funding.
While Poparazzi had felt like an overnight sensation at the time, co-founder and CEO Alex Ma and his brother, co-founder Austen Ma, had spent three years developing apps and pivoting to achieve success that they generated with the launch of Poparrazi. In an interview with MinRegion in 2022, Alex said that Poparrazi was actually the 11th or 12th app generated by those efforts. One of these was the social audio network TTYL, a kind of “clubhouse for friends”, after which their company is also named.
However, Poparrazi caused a lot of hype soon after its release and climbed the charts to reach No. 1 on the App Store. The concept behind the app was a photo-sharing focused social network that essentially took Instagram’s tagging feature and turned it into the whole experience. On Poparazzi, users could tag their friends, but couldn’t post photos themselves. The idea was that this would create a more authentic kind of social network, as photos wouldn’t necessarily be the polished, perfected images that fill Instagram, but rather the casual moments that are part of people’s real lives.
Last June, the company confirmed its $15 million Series A raise led by Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel, who beat a16z to the deal. The startup had previously raised $2 million in seed funding, led by Floodgate, in a round with other investors such as SV Angel, Shrug Capital, and several Angels. At the time, Poparazzi said his funds would give his team of 15 a runway of more than two years.
But soon there were signs that Poparazzi’s time could be coming to an end.
In August 2022, MinRegion saw the team working on a new app, Made with Friends, which put a spin on Poparazzi’s original concept of social networking profiles created by a user’s friends. Made with Friends instead asked its users to post all sorts of content on their friends’ profiles, not just photos. For example, they can post text-based content such as answers to questions or prompts, as well as videos. The app was available as a pre-release at the time, but has since been removed from the App Store sometime after March 26 this year, app intelligence firm Apptopia confirmed to MinRegion.
Poparrazi use had also slowed after launch, the company noted. It estimated there were 6.2 million lifetime installs for the app, but it now only has about 2,000-3,000 monthly active users (MAUs) after previously reaching a high of 4 million MAUs.
In his blog post, Poparrazi did not confirm any future plans, but merely pointed to the impending closure and thanked his community and supporters.
“We are incredibly blessed to partner with an amazing team of passionate designers, engineers and marketers to bring this movement to life. And none of this would have been possible without the support of the world’s most supportive group of investors,” Alex Ma wrote in the announcement. “We are so grateful to our community for the support and faith you have shown us throughout our journey. Your enthusiasm and passion for Poparazzi has been the driving force behind everything we have done. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
TTYL Inc. has been asked for comment.