Color in trouble (again) with absent CEO, possible pivot on the horizon

Color, the photo-sharing app that raised eyebrows for its significant fundraising but less than significant user base, could be hitting another rough patch, with the company’s CEO removing himself from the company’s day-to-day operations and a product pivot on the horizon, TechCrunch reported Friday.

The report said that CEO Bill Nguyen has been absent from the company for months now, and that others had taken over his responsibilities while he was on frequent vacation. The story also said Color would be going through a product pivot soon, although Nguyen denied this was the case. Color has not responded to a request for comment. Before founding Color, Nguyen sold his music-sharing service LaLa to Apple in 2009.

VC firms including Sequoia Capital invested $41 million in Color before the product even launched in March 2011, raising serious questions about those investments and what kind of impact the photo-sharing app could have. Investors loved the product, but users were less sure, and it had trouble gaining traction, as Om Malik wrote: “I downloaded the location- and socially-aware photo-sharing app, but found it as barren as the endless sands of the Sahara.” In September 2011 the company pivoted from a location-based photo-sharing site to one that let users to connect live photos and videos to Facebook.

Verizon partnered with Color in May to offer customers live video streaming options, but now more than a year after its launch, Color has largely faded from the startup landscape. Alyssa Solomon, Color’s former CFO and co-founder, joined CakeHealth in June, and others, including co-founder Peter Pham, had left last summer.

This morning, Pham tweeted his reaction, cc’ing another former co-founder, DJ Patil.