Diaspora, Down a Co-Founder and a CEO, Still In It to Win It

The only startup perhaps to rival BankSimple in pre-launch delays, Diaspora has suffered more setbacks than most. Its struggles started with overexposure and inflated expectations due to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign which was funded 20 times over; most recently, the company was tragically set back by the death of co-founder Ilya Zhitomirsky at 22, a possible suicide. CEO Yosem Companys also recently stepped down for “personal reasons,” which were later revealed to be a spat with the cofounders and the board.

That leaves three cofounders: Daniel Grippi and Maxwell Salzberg, who are working on Diaspora full time, and cofounder Raphael Sofaer serving on the board with NYU professor Evan Korth. Mr. Grippi and Mr. Salzberg signed a letter of intent, effectively, with blog post today announcing Diaspora’s plan to get to beta. “After long discussions with each other, people close to us, and members of the Diaspora* community, we have come up with a plan to get our beta out the door by early 2012,” the foundation says.

The startup’s three goals are:

1. Harness the power of the crowd in order to get priorities such as a privacy policy finalized, collaboratively with the community,
2. Hiring, and
3. Making Diaspora financially sustainable.

“A new social web model where users are not the product, but willful participants who are creating new modes of communication. This was our vision when we launched our Kickstarter campaign in April 2010, and it remains our vision today,” write the cofounders of one of the most idealistic startups of our time.

Diaspora, Down a Co-Founder and a CEO, Still In It to Win It