Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker once said, “Anyone who has bet against Elon Musk has lived to regret it.” Apparently, the founders at Twitter alternative Pebble (formerly T2) didn’t get the memo. Today, Pebble announced that it will be shutting down its operations on November 1, just a few weeks before its one-year anniversary.
In an official statement, the company’s leadership acknowledged that its growth rate wasn’t meeting the expectations of investors, leading to doubts about its potential for significant expansion. The shutdown of the ten-month-old startup underscores the formidable challenge of competing against the network effects established by Elon Musk’s X. Pebble is now asking all its users to download their data before the November 1 shutdown date.
“We have some sad news to share today. As of November 1, 2023, Pebble will be shutting down. Sad news today: I will be shutting down on November 1, 2023,” Pebble co-founder Gabor Cselle, said in a post.
Founded in November 2022 by former Twitter employees Sarah Oh and Gabor Cselle, Pebble emerged as a contender in the realm of social media platforms, positioning itself as an alternative to X following its acquisition by Elon Musk. This venture was set in motion shortly after Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now known as X. Pebble presents users with an authenticated network where they can create posts and engage within communities. While currently in an invite-only beta phase, the contents on the site are publicly visible.
Before launching T2, Gabor Cselle had been responsible for incubating new consumer products within Google’s now-closed Area 120 incubator. He also held the role of Group Product Manager at Twitter between 2014 and 2016, where he contributed to the consumer product and revamped Twitter’s logged-out homepage and mobile trends. Sarah Oh, on the other hand, had previously held executive positions in Trust and Safety at both Twitter and Facebook. Notably, after Oh’s departure from Twitter, Cselle reached out to offer condolences and extend an offer to join T2 in the pursuit of creating a fresh social media platform.
The development of T2 was announced by Cselle in November 2022. Early in 2023, T2 recruited Michael Greer, formerly the Senior Director of Engineering at Discord, to serve as its Chief Technology Officer. Eventually, on September 15, 2023, the platform underwent a rebranding and was officially named Pebble.
Pebble’s platform allows 280 characters in user posts, a deliberate nod to the Twitter tradition. Cselle’s vision is to maintain a platform as reminiscent of the original Twitter as possible, with a strong emphasis on security and safety features, including robust user authentication.