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Automattic Acquires Universal Messaging App Texts for $50 Million

Automattic Acquires Texts Messaging App

Texts stands out as a one-stop solution for managing multiple messaging apps. Users can seamlessly log in to platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Signal, iMessage, and more, accessing and responding to all their messages from a single interface.

This innovative approach mirrors that of Beeper, another app offering similar functionality. However, Texts elevates the user experience by incorporating additional features like AI-generated responses and summaries, all while maintaining its core function of unifying various inboxes.

Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Automattic, views the acquisition of Texts not merely as a product expansion but as the genesis of a substantial new investment for the company. Historically, Automattic’s focus has centered on publishing and commerce. Now, messaging emerges as the company’s third foundational pillar. Mullenweg expresses a deep commitment to these areas, considering them integral to the human condition and ideal for a lifelong pursuit. He emphasizes the importance of open-source solutions in self-publishing, commerce, and messaging for long-term success.

Looking ahead, Mullenweg is optimistic about decentralized and open-source messaging networks like Matrix and other emerging messaging standards. He envisions Texts playing a role in gradually guiding users towards more open protocols. However, in the immediate future, he believes in supporting a diverse range of standards and allowing the market and users to dictate their preferences.

Mullenweg highlights two particular aspects of Texts that resonate with him. Firstly, he praises Kishan Bagaria, the founder of Texts, as a generational tech genius whose impact will be discussed for decades. Secondly, he lauds Texts’ security model, which prioritizes on-device encryption over cloud storage. Mullenweg, as an engineer, finds it difficult to ethically support a cloud-first model. He also perceives this security model as a potential challenge for existing messaging apps, which might use it as a technical justification to block interoperability attempts.

Upon joining Automattic, the Texts team’s immediate objective is to complete the development of its mobile app. Mullenweg acknowledges the complexity of achieving this on mobile, especially concerning push notifications and battery efficiency. However, he is confident that they have devised a solution that maintains end-to-end encryption without compromising Automattic’s access to user keys or data.

Currently, Texts is positioned as a power-user tool with a subscription cost of $15 per month. Mullenweg hints at the possibility of introducing a limited free version in the future, but he believes that serious users will find value in the paid version. He compares the cost to that of a streaming service or a couple of cups of coffee per month, emphasizing the hours of daily utility it offers.

Mullenweg and Automattic are optimistic about the future of messaging. As online interactions shift from public social networks to group chats and private messaging, they see immense potential in this space. While building a sustainable business model around chat remains a challenge, Mullenweg is confident in the prospects. He believes that the key to success in messaging starts with simplifying and streamlining the user experience.

Automattic’s acquisition of Texts represents a strategic move into a burgeoning field, highlighting the company’s vision for the future of communication. As they integrate Texts into their diverse portfolio, it will be intriguing to observe how this acquisition shapes the landscape of messaging and digital interaction in the years to come.


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