Stephen Fry's technology start-up Pushnote folds
Stephen Fry’s first technology start-up investment, called Pushnote, has ended badly, with the site having shut down only18 months after he promoted it.
The actor and comedian, who is also an avid technology enthusiast and prolific tweeter, alerted his millions of Twitter followers last year to his financial backing of Pushnote, a web commenting service.
Tweetingabout the Pushnote last January, a browser add-on tool which aimed to make it easier for people to post comments on sites across the web using one button, Fry wrote: “You might like to try my new baby [Pushnote]. Hope you like it. Makes the web one big democratic comment platform."
Twitter: Stephen Fry - You might like to try my new baby - www.pushnote.com - hope you like it. Makes the web one big democratic comment platform.
He added separately: “I’m very pleased to be in the background as a (silent but enthusiastic) member of the Pushnote team. It’s one of those little ideas that I think will grow and grow. It will soon, I think, become second nature for those browsing the web to look up to the Pushnote icon and check what fellow ‘Pushnoters’ have said about the site they’re on, its content, its value, reliability and so on.”
However, the site’s founder and chief executive, John Leaver, has now shut down the service, saying other ideas “have come to eclipse Pushnote”.
A farewell notice on the site from the company said: “We’re very sorry, but Pushnote has been taken down.
“It was a difficult decision, not least because we loved the great content shared on Pushnote, and we’re sorry we can no longer support the site.
“As an innovative social platform, Pushnote was always a bit of an experiment. It was a lot of fun and we made a lot of friends, but our passions have led us elsewhere.
“The people behind Pushnote have been dreaming up new ideas for some time, and those ideas have come to eclipse Pushnote, so it’s time to move on.”
It is unknown how much money Fry invested and what share of the company he owned.
At the time of writing he had yet to make a comment about the closure and unusually for him, had not tweeted his thoughts on it.
Andrew Orlowski, a technology commentator for The Register, said of Pushnote, which had been criticised by the technology press last year for poor execution: “It was such a turkey that not even Stephen Fry could make it popular.”
Pushnote launched in beta last year and aimed to simplify commenting on sites across the web, by removing the need to log into different website accounts. It was a browser add-on tool which, if it had taken off, could have caused some controversy, as websites would not be able to remove or censor any comments posted onto their sites via Pushnote.
The Pushnote browser button turned green when a user visited a web page where other people have commented using the service. It turned red when new comments from Pushnote ‘friends’ were added, allowing people the option to discuss issues in real-time.
Fry wrote on his website last year that he did expect the investment to make him money: “I have no expectations of making money from this. For me it’s a little like gardening. I don’t do the real thing, but I can see the pleasure in planning out, digging, drilling, seeding, watering, tending and watching the first sproutings of new growth.”
The latest Companies House records show that Pushnote's parent company, Ubitek, registered in Bath, have liabilities of £56,000.