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A Year Later, $41 Million Startup Color Has A Pathetic 30,000 Daily Users

Nicholas Carlson

About a year ago, serial entrepreneur Bill Nguyen shocked the startup world when he announced his latest effort, a company called Color, had raised $41 million out of the gate in order to build yet-another iPhone photography app.

Before many had even had a chance to try the app, the startup crowd began laughing at the size of Color's raise.

The people New Work City created up a wildly popular satirical pitch deck mocking the raise, titled:  "Color.XXX. people. colors. apps. mobile. social. pivot."

The vision for Color was as massive as that $41 million mountain of cash: using geo-positioned crowd-sourced photos, Nguyen and company were going to build a virtual world to mirror our own, live.

Unfortunately, in terms of actual user adoption, the app went nowhere.

A few months in, Nguyen scrapped the idea. 

Now, Color is a iPhone app for taking short video clips and uploading them as "status updates" on to Facebook.

Foursquare business development boss Tristan Walker thinks the pivot was a mistake. He just  tweeted : " It has been about a year since  's launch and I'm still incredibly sad that it didn't stick to its orig idea. It was so damn ambitious."

The new version of Color is not very popular. According to AppData, 30,000 or so people use it every day, 110,000 every month. By contrast, ~15 million people use iPhone photo app Instagram, while millions use iPhone social network, Path.

Don't close the book on Nguyen and Color yet, though. Raising as much money as he did out the gate means he and his (ever-changing) team have plenty of time to create an app that will actually take off.

Remember, Rovio made about 50 games before it came out with Angry Birds; now it's a $2 billion+ company. OMGPOP, the company that just sold to Zynga for $200 million, was basically out of money when it came up with mega hit Draw Something.

Still, Color investors  Sequoia and  Bain Capital have to be sweating a year later.

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