Twitter Acquires Display Sharing Social App Squad

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Today Twitter announced that it is taking over Squad and that the screen-sharing social app will join the ranks of Twitter. Squad Co-founders, CEO Esther Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, as well as the rest of the team, will join the design, engineering and product departments of Twitter, according to Twitter. Crawford specifically states that she will have a product in the discussion room.

What doesn't come on board is the actual Squad app, which allowed users to share their screens on mobile devices or on the desktop and video chat at the same time. This feature was aimed at finding the friends screen sharing use case beyond the business presentation use case. The app will shut down tomorrow, Twitter confirms, an unwanted surprise to the user base, which is largely made up of teenage girls.

Twitter declined to provide further terms of the contract.

Image via Twitter

The functionality of the app seems to be a matter of course for the service, although the company has not confirmed whether any technology will come on board as part of the business. Twitter wasn't interested in having separate apps work outside of the core Twitter app. Vine was infamously shut down, angering users who likely later gathered behind TikTok, a massive track record and perhaps one of the biggest missed opportunities for American social media companies. In the meantime, Periscope, which has largely gotten mixed up over the years, is in a particularly fragile place, as app code is only showing up today that indicates an impending app shutdown.

Squad was particularly closely associated with Snap and was an early adopter of many of the company's Snap Kit developer tools. Building much of the app using Snap's developer tools could have made porting the technology to Twitter's infrastructure a more complicated task, especially considering how often Snap Kit apps are closely tied to the Snapchat user graph.

Squad raised $ 7.2 million in venture capital from the first round, Y Combinator, Betaworks, Halogen Ventures, ex-TechCrunch editor Alexia Bonatsos Dream Machine and a host of other investors. Squad was in the right place at the right time in early 2020. When the pandemic first broke out, CEO Esther Crawford told TechCrunch that her app usage had increased 1,100%.

Crawford spoke at length about the challenges of scaling a modern social app while avoiding the pitfalls of toxicity that so often come with reaching new heights. In an interview with TechCrunch last year, she told us that her team "tries to learn from the best about what they've done but get rid of the shit".

In a medium post, Crawford also took the opportunity of her startup's exit to encourage investors to support more diverse founders.

"I hope that our exit will be the decisive factor in convincing investors to put money into different teams, because every success is further proof that we, the historically undercapitalized and underrated founders, are a good choice", Crawford wrote a medium post. "Invest in women and people with color because we make them money."