GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app owned by Microsoft. It was launched in May 2010 by the private company GroupMe. In August 2011, GroupMe delivered over 100 million messages each month. By June 2012, that number had jumped to 550 million.
GroupMe was conceived at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010. Founders Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci raised US$10.6 million in venture capital from Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, angel investors, and others. In August 2011, Skype acquired the one-year-old start-up for around $80 million.Skype had itself been purchased by Microsoft in May 2011, with the purchase finalized in October 2011. In 2012 GroupMe co-founder, Steve Martocci took part in the White House’s summer jobs initiative. The app underwent a redesign in late 2012.
GroupMe has a web client as well as mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Those who don’t want to use the app can still send and receive GroupMe messages through SMS. Users begin by creating a “group” and adding contacts. When someone sends a message, everyone in the group can see and respond to it. The app allows users to easily attach and send pictures as well. Users can also send private messages, but only to users who also have the GroupMe app.
GroupMe hired Robby Ayala, a full-time video creator on the video service Vine, to make a short commercial. Robby Ayala publishes several six-second comedy movies to his 2.6 million followers each day. Ayala acts as a conduit for GroupMe to reach audiences beyond traditional advertising and marketing schemes like television, radio, or magazines. Ayala made a short comedy skit using GroupMe to text his friends a selfie and was paid "several thousand dollars."