Circa News says ‘farewell’ as funding runs out for personal news wire service
Mobile news app was popular in the Apple App Store but the business model pursued – avoiding both advertising and reader revenue – meant the company needed continuous reinvestments to survive
The personal news wire service Circa News announced on its website today that it would be shutting down – going on “indefinite hiatus” in their words.
“Producing high-quality news can be a costly endeavor and without the capital necessary to support further production we are unable to continue,” Matt Galligan, Circa co-founder wrote to readers. “Our mission was always to create a news company where factual, unbiased, and succinct information could be found. In doing so we recognized that building a revenue stream for such a mission would take some time and chose to rely on venture capital to sustain. We have now reached a point where we’re no longer able to continue news production as-is.”
TNM first covered Circa News at its launch in October of 2012 with the headline: Circa is the “news, reimagined” as a crashing app.
“Circa News is an iPhone app that claims is “news, reimagined”. Well, if the future of news is a buggy app that crashes, then the future be damned,” I wrote at the time. “Try as I might, I could not get past the app’s start up propaganda.”
Things went better from there, with the Circa News app getting plenty of love from the Apple App Store team. But the company was reluctant to pursue a traditional ad or reader revenue model, instead, finding itself dependent on its investor backing.
“We could have compromised and included off-the-shelf advertisements or charged a subscription for the product but we never felt like any of the simplest solutions would pair well with the high-quality experience we wished to achieve, or even bring in enough to make a difference,” wrote Galligan.
What the business model ended up being is not clear, and its also not clear if there are any lessons to learn for Circa’s closing.
But should a news start-up such as Circa News appear in the future, and you hear that a number of Google ad executives are coming on board, that may be the start-up to watch.