MessageBird rebrands as Bird, cuts prices on SMS by 90% to take on Twilio


No, don't think about Bird Scooters. ThinkBird, formerly MessageBird. The Amsterdam-based unicorn is now re-branding after acquiring the domain name for reportedly several millions a few years ago.

Founded in 2011 by Adriaan Moll and Robert Vis, the cloud communications platform for enterprises is also launching a range of new products and slashing prices significantly over competitors like Twilio.

Vis told me over the phone: “Actually our thought process on this was very simple and obviously the decision was taken long before the Bird Group went bankrupt. I'm trying to build a legacy company that will come into existence in about 50 years and no way I had it in my mind that a scooter company was going to come into existence in about 50 years.

40-90% discount is being offered on Bird CRM for marketing, sales and payments over email, SMS and WhatsApp and the company said in a statement today that it will take 90% discount on SMS.

“Your margin is my opportunity” will quote Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in a new marketing campaign. Twilio reportedly makes $1.3 billion in profits on SMS which MessageBird wants to reduce to zero with a price drop. TechCrunch's sources say Viz mentioned this intention when it introduced MessageBird during its 2016 YC demo day eight years ago.

This step is important, as a $100k spend on SMS or email can be worth $10k with companies like Twilio, Klaviyo or Attentive. TechCrunch has contacted Twilio for comment.

Vis said: “We are reducing the prices significantly. It is now time to move away from placing API providers at the top of the channels, which we can probably agree is completely commoditized. That's really the difference between Twilio and us and maybe 10 other SMS providers or WhatsApp providers. Our idea is that the ability to do something with the channel is really more important than the channel itself, so we're basically giving the channel cost, which is, if you have a sole business as a channel provider, Probably really useless, which is clearly our intention. But if you provide any kind of convenience at the top of the channel, I think the next 10 years are going to be like this.

In a blog post co-founder Viz said: “It's no longer about the abstraction layer of the API. AI changed the game and overturned everything – the next 10 years will be about infrastructure + application – or how we want to see it: what you can do with the channel vs just access to the channel.

It's been a busy week for Viz, after his LinkedIn post saying he was looking to buy companies with Electronic Money Institution (EMI) and/or Payment Institution (PI) licenses went viral on the networking platform.

Meanwhile, Bird, a company that sells scooters on rent, recently went bankrupt.