No, don’t think Bird Scooters. Think Bird, formerly MessageBird. For the Amsterdam-based unicorn is now re-branding as such after reportedly acquiring the Bird.com domain name a couple of years ago, allegedly for many millions.
Founded in 2011 by Adriaan Mol and Robert Vis, the cloud communications platform for enterprises is also launching a range of new products and a drastic pricing cut to go up against competitors such as Twilio.
Vis told me over the phone: “Our thought process was pretty simple on this actually and obviously this decision was made way before Bird Group went bankrupt. I’m trying to build a legacy company that is going to be around in 50 years and in no way in my mind was the scooter company going to be around in 50 years.”
Bird CRM for marketing, sales, and payments on Email, SMS, and WhatsApp is being slashed with a 40-90% discount and the company said in a statement today that it would charge SMS at a 90% discount.
A new marketing campaign will quote Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with “your margins are my opportunity”. Twilio reportedly does $1.3 billion in profit on SMS which Messagebird appears to be looking to bring to zero with the price drop. TechCrunch sources say Vis mentioned this intention eight years ago while pitching MessageBird during his 2016 YC Demo Day.
The move is significant, since $100k on SMS or email with a companies like Twilio, Klaviyo or Attentive, could translate as a $10k spend. TechCrunch has reached out to Twilio for comment.
Vis said: “We’re dropping prices considerably. It’s time to move away from the space of API providers on top of channels, which we could probably agree is a completely commoditized. That’s truly the differentiation between Twilio and us and probably 10 other SMS providers or WhatsApp providers. Our view is much more that the ability to do something with the channel is way more important than actually the channel in itself, so we’re basically giving away channel costs, which, if your only business as a channel provider, probably really sucks, which obviously is kind of our intention. But if you provide any type of convenience on top of the channel, then I think that’s what the next 10 years is going to be about.”
In a blog post co-founder Vis added: “It is no longer about the abstraction layer of API’s. AI changed the game and flipped everything – the next 10 years will be all about infrastructure + application – or how we like to look at it : what you can do with the channel versus merely access to the channel.”
Vis has also had a busy week after a his LinkedIn post saying he was seeking to buy out companies with Electronic Money Institution (EMI) and/or Payment Institutions (PI) licenses went viral on the networking platform.
Meanwhile Bird, the perveyor of for-rent scoooters, recently went bankrupt.