It’s not clearly exactly why the service is closing down since announcement the blog does not provide a specific reason. The move comes almost eighteenth months after the shuttering of Culver’s previous startup, Y Combinator-backed Convore, a consumer focused chat group also based on the IRC protocol.
Grove ran a tight ship, with developer Jori Lallo the only other full-time staffer, but Culver confirmed that the team has now moved on to new things:
We love IRC for companies and had a great time working on Grove. However, our team has moved on to other projects and we’ve made the very difficult decision to shut down the Grove website and IRC service.
Grove customers have paid their last bill, Culver explains:
As of today, we’ve turned off billing and made all of our plans free. For our paying customers, this means you won’t be billed again – or rather, you’ll be billed $0 for the remainder of Grove’s lifetime. If you have any questions about billing, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Those customers can download their data from the service using a script on GitHub that Culver cooked up, while the company will still receive and manage emails before the lights go out for good.
Grove was a rival, of sorts, to Yammer in that it allowed companies to make more dexterous and flexible communications systems of their own, using the IRC protocol. The service aimed to make things easy by provided hosting, account management, access controls and searchable chat.
Pricing was variable: the initial 30-day period was free, with customers charged a rate of $10 per month for 5 users, $25 for 10 users, $50 for 20 users, and beyond.
Grove had around 40 paying customers when Culver spoke to GigaOm in January. Speaking back then, she explained the that being IRC protocol-based was proving popular: “Many developers specifically want to use IRC because it’s an open protocol, and it’s something they’re often very comfortable using.”
Culver co-founded one time Twitter-rival Pownce (among other things) and we’re quite sure she’ll jump back into the startup saddle soon.
We reached out to Culver to see if we can find more details about why the service is closing.
Image via Shutterstock / Owen1978
Clarification: The post first published stating that Grove was Y Combinator backed, but that was quickly corrected after going live. Convore was Y Combinator backed but Grove is a separate service and was not a pivot.