Tunepics, the London-based photo and music sharing app founded by the former chief marketing officer of Topshop has shut down, alongside the Innovate7 consultancy he left the retailer to start up in 2013.
Justin Cooke, the founder and CEO of both companies, confirmed to Business Insider he left late last year after being approached to work on “a huge artificial intelligence program that is highly disruptive in the automotive space and will be announced later this year.”
Cooke’s Instagram profile shows he has been visiting the offices of the likes of Audi, Tesla, BMW, Ford, Lockheed Martin, Faraday Future, and Google within the past month.
“The reality was the long-term costs exceeded the likely growth potential”
The Tunepics app allowed users to share a picture on their smartphone to display alongside a 30-second music clip from their iTunes library, alongside an array of coloured emotions to share their current mood. Think Instagram meets Spotify.
At launch, Tunepics founder and CEO Justin Cooke told The Drum he believed the app would “define a generation” and The Evening Standard pondered whether he was “London’s answer to Mark Zuckerberg.”
The app had 5 million users as of October 2015, The Drum reported, which included celebrity members such as popstars Adele and Will.i.am, fashion designer Paul Smith, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and actress and model Kate Bosworth.
The company had also raised $2 million in equity funding from angel investors, according to Crunchbase. Digital agency AKQA was a seed investor with a 19.9% stake in the business, Campaign reported in May 2014.
Baroness Joanna Shields OBE, the UK minister for internet safety and security and former Facebook VP for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa was listed as an advisor to the company on Crunchbase.
In November, Tunepics made an announcement to its users on the app and via email that the app was closing. It can no longer be downloaded on Apple’s App Store. However, there was no public announcement on Tunepics’ website, Twitter, or Facebook pages.
A source close to the company suggested Tunepics’ growth was held back by music licensing issues. Once it hit scale, it was difficult to pay the licensing fees demanded by labels unless the company raised considerable investment or was acquired.
We put this to Cooke, who responded:
We worked very closely with all the labels who were highly supportive of the business and tried to help us build a model. The reality was the long-term costs exceeded the likely growth potential and therefore the chances of success were highly limited because the funds required to grow the business at scale would have far outweighed the long-term opportunity. One thing I’m very proud of is the work we did in the emotion space. We organised music by emotion and used emotional reactions to express people’s feelings beyond the standard like button. [This is] something I believe we will be widely copied for and hopefully remembered as the pioneers. This has recently been added to Facebook in the from of moods — something we put in place a few years ago :)
On March 1, Innovate7, the marketing consultancy founded by Cooke, was dissolved, according to documents filed with Companies House.
Innovate7, according to its website, “partner[ed] with brands to understand their heritage and define their future, embracing modern thinking and technologies to shape emotive experiences and disrupt industries.” The consultancy worked with clients including Will.i.am, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Chelsea Football Club, according to The Evening Standard.
Disregarding interns, a LinkedIn search found Innovate7 and TunePics had 10 people saying they worked for one of the two companies in November 2015 (of course, not everyone keeps their LinkedIn profiles up to date.)
Tunepics cofounder Nicola Peters has not yet updated her LinkedIn profile. She was not immediately available for comment.
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