Napster Founders' New Startup Struggles
Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker launched video-chat company Airtime Media in June of this year. Now, four months later, the future of the company is uncertain, and Fanning has left his day-to-day role within the start-up. Parker, Airtime's current CEO, is also reportedly interested in other ventures, and may not maintain his role much longer either, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
Airtime's vision has always been exceedingly ambitious; the company wanted to become a better version of popular video chatting platform Skype, but wanted to do so while integrated with Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) , which has more than 900 million users. Currently, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) social networking site Google+ has a feature called "hangouts" that allows up to 10 users to video chat with one another at a time. So far, Facebook has not been able to match the functionality of Google Hangouts, and Airtime certainly hasn't helped. The company's debut was marred by technical glitches in its software, and the Facebook app has fewer than 500 users per day, the Journal reports.
Despite star power, powerful connections -- Parker was an early investor in Facebook and an early president of the company -- and $25 million in initial funding, Airtime has yet to take off. Despite assurances from Parker that there is much more on the way for the fledgling company, Airtime will have to grow very quickly in order to prove itself as a viable business.