Messaging App Startup That Secured $200M Funding from SoftBank and Other Investors Faces Closure due to Overwhelming Influx of Fake Users

**Title: IRL, the Messaging App Startup, Shuts Down Amid Controversy Over Fake User Numbers**

**IRL’s Valuation and Mission**

Two years ago, IRL, a messaging app startup, secured a $1.2 billion valuation in a Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The company positioned itself as the leading group messaging social network that aimed to bring people together through events and shared experiences. With a total funding of over $200 million, it claimed to create authentic and organic communities. However, recent revelations have cast doubt on these claims and exposed the company’s fraudulent practices.

**Controversy Surrounding User Numbers**

Last year, IRL faced scrutiny when employees raised questions regarding CEO Abraham Shafi’s declaration of 20 million monthly active users. The company’s authenticity came into question, and doubts were cast on the actual number of real users on the platform.

**IRL’s Downfall: Admission of Bot Users**

Recent reports reveal that IRL’s board of directors concluded, after an investigation, that 95% of its users were either automated or from bots. This revelation led to the acknowledgment that the company’s future prospects were unsustainable. Consequently, IRL has made the decision to shut down.

**Investigation and CEO Resignation**

Earlier this year, a former employee of IRL alleged that he was fired after raising concerns about the presence of numerous bot users on the platform. In April, Abraham Shafi resigned as CEO amidst mounting allegations against the company. The Securities and Exchange Commission had already initiated an investigation into IRL, exploring potential violations of securities laws related to the misrepresentation of its business performance to investors.

**Reactions from Industry Leaders**

Several leaders from other startups commented on IRL’s downfall. They emphasized the importance of building a genuine business and warned against the trend of rapid growth driven by fraudulent practices. Many voiced their anticipation of more such stories coming to light, as they believe the startup ecosystem’s recent obsession with inflated valuations will lead to serious consequences.

**IRL’s Journey and Employee Count**

At its peak, IRL employed around 100 individuals. The company had secured investments from various firms, including Funders Fund, Goodyear Capital, and Floodgate Fund. CEO Abraham Shafi had previously expressed ambitions of creating a global messaging app similar to WeChat, with aspirations of attracting billions of users worldwide. However, the recent revelations have resulted in a stark departure from these grand plans.

**In Conclusion**

IRL, once hailed as a promising messaging app startup, has met its downfall due to fraudulent practices and the presence of a vast number of bot users. The revelations surrounding the company’s misrepresentation of user numbers and subsequent investigations have led to the decision to shut down. This incident serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of honesty, integrity, and sustainable growth within the startup ecosystem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Chairman PTI Declared Threat to National Security by Dost Mazari | Respond Now | PNN

Is Ring Id a Safe Investment?