Twitter bought messaging app to help improve DMs and communities

In an effort to strengthen its communities, Twitter acquired Sphere, a group chat app founded in 2016 that aims to make conversations more interactive and organized. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sphere’s website describes the app as a place that “turns groups into vibrant communities.”

Sphere was co-founded in 2016 by Nick D’Aloisio, a British computer programmer turned serial entrepreneur. Initially, it was an app for real-time questions and answers, but later became a hub for group chats (via CNBC). During Sphere’s standalone existence, it aimed to bring the organization to group conversations on mobile. As noted on the Sphere website, some of its features included self-erasing feeds, automatic archiving, and calls for important messages. It also allows users to have interactive conversations categorized by specific interests.

The acquisition of Sphere marks the second start-up sold by D’Aloisio; In 2013, when he was 17, D’Aloisio sold his news digest startup Summly to Yahoo for $ 30 million.

All employees of Sphere’s small 20-member team will join Twitter, according to the Sphere blog post. Nick Caldwell, vice president of engineering at Twitter, tweeted that Sphere will help Twitter tackle community, DMS and creator roadmaps.

It will be especially interesting to see Sphere’s impact on Twitter’s invite communities, the feature it launched in September to compete with Facebook groups. Communities allow users to join spaces for specific interests, such as sneaker collectors or skincare enthusiasts. While communities are only available by invitation at this time, Sphere can help speed up the process and make the feature accessible to everyone.

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