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Emojli closed on 30th July 2015

Emojli was set up as a joke by two people in their spare time and despite the occasional call from confused investors, it wasn't a startup. Over 60,000 of you may have downloaded our apps, but very few people actually used it.

To keep Emojli running after August 2015 we would have had to spend a decent amount of our own money, and it just wasn't worth it for the joke. In order to comply with UK data protection law, as we shut it down we deleted everything: accounts, messages, the lot. It will not be resurrected.

Matt Gray

Tom Scott

Emojli History

The Big Reveal

Matt Gray and Tom Scott announced Emojli in June 2014, with this video and an invitation to reserve a username:

The Launch

Over 70,000 people registered a username, so at that point it was real and we actually had to make it. After two busy months developing the iOS app and the backend in our spare time, we decided on a launch date of 29th August, in time for Electromagnetic Field Festival!

How And Why We Made It

We gave a talk to a tech-savvy audience at EMF, entitled Emojli: Behind the Scenes and Why You Should Never Build An App. We start by talking about our reasoning behind it and how it got surprisingly big, then go into detail about the technology behind the app, including the security, privacy and data protection we built in.

The End

The one year anniversary of the announcement was looming, which brought along some renewal costs. By this point we were bored of the joke, hadn't made any money from the app (not that we were expecting to), and didn't fancy spending even more money to keep it going.

We ceremoniously shut it down on 30th July 2015, with a short video on the then-popular video sharing website Vine.

We needed to comply with UK data protection law, so after we shut it down, we deleted everything: accounts, messages, the lot.

And unlike many startups, we didn't give any rubbish about our incredible journey.

The Post-Mortem

To wrap up the whole experience, we made a video on our Park Bench series about running Emojli, the reasons behind us shutting it down, and any regrets we had.


Is the code open source or otherwise available?
Nope. We deleted it.
Have you seen this other emoji-based app?
Probably. Every time one pops up, we get several tweets.
Why didn't you sell it?
We would have been happy to sell the app and its code, but everyone who enquired was expecting to buy equity in it and for us to keep working on it. Which was never going to happen.


Here's a non-exhaustive list of articles that featured Emojli.