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Color Labs

  • Founded: 2010
  • Ceased Operations: 2012

What did Color Labs do?

Color Labs was a technology start-up that focused on developing a mobile app for capturing and sharing photos and videos which allowed users to take photos and share them with nearby users in real-time.

Color Labs received significant investment from high-profile investors such as Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank, raising $41 million in funding prior to its launch and generated a great amount of media hype. The hype lead to a $200 million takeover offer by Google which Color rejected. The company launched its mobile app on March 24, 2011 to great fanfare, generating more than 1 million downloads.
After its initial product failed to sustain that momentum, Color pivoted to a live-stream video application similar to what Periscope released several years later.

Who started Color Labs?

Bill Nguyen and Peter Pham co-founded Color Labs.

Why did Color Labs go out of business?

By September 1, the service had under 100,000 monthly active users and decided to pivot. The post-pivot product, a live-stream video application similar to Periscope or the features now found in major social media apps like Facebook, was well-received but struggled to gain traction due to a confusing user-experience and a lack of focus by the management team.

Color Labs was acquired by Apple in 2012 and its technology platform was rolled into FaceTime. The Color video-compression technology is what enabled Apple to begin offering FaceTime over cellular networks in 2013.

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