Meerkat, which last year kicked off the modern mobile live-streaming craze now led by Facebook and Twitter, has been removed from the iOS App Store. Ben Rubin, CEO of Meerkat maker Life On Air, broke the news on Twitter earlier today, calling it a “bittersweet” moment given his company’s new release. On Monday, Life On Air revealed that it’s been operating a private video chatting app it now calls Houseparty that’s designed to facilitate group hangouts in a private, instead of public, context. Houseparty has already amassed nearly 1 million users, according to the company.
The end of Meerkat was an inevitability. The app had an explosive moment at last year’s South by Southwest festival, which helped Life On Air nab $12 million in venture capital funding. However, Twitter cut off access to its social graph shortly thereafter, making it more difficult to build out a list of friends on Meerkat, before launching its own live-streaming competitor called Periscope. Facebook too joined the game last year and has since poured immense resources into its live video efforts. Caught in a battle between two tech titans meant Meerkat simply could not keep up. Perhaps Houseparty won’t have the same mix of bad luck and unfortunate timing.
We just removed Meerkat from the AppStore bitter sweet moment seeing it go while celebrating @houseparty
— Ben Rubin (@benrbn) September 30, 2016