Xobni takes over Twitter’s old offices


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You can measure the success of a start-up in square footage.

Just ask Xobni.

A few weeks ago, Xobni moved into Twitter’s old offices in the South of Market area of San Francisco. With 30 employees, it could no longer squeeze into the offices that it first occupied with four people in 2007.


There are still some stray birds painted on the walls, but the expansive views and wide-open spaces now belong to Xobni.

I dropped by the other day as co-founders Matt Brezina and Adam Smith reminisced about the string of luck and smarts that has helped them move on up in the world.

Office No. 1 was Smith’s MIT dorm room in 2006. Smith persuaded Brezina to quit grad school and move into the 12-by-12-foot space to work on Xobni. Office No. 2 was a rented apartment near Harvard Square during the early days of Y Combinator. When the lease ran out there, the pair temporarily moved into the apartment of a fellow Y Combinator start-up founder and now Xobni employee, Bryan Kennedy.

Realizing they needed to head to Silicon Valley to make a real go of Xobni, they drove to California and ended up in Office No. 4, a small apartment in a San Francisco high-rise that became known as the “Y Scraper” for housing so many Y Combinator start-ups, including That’s where I met them (and was introduced to one of Smith’s culinary specialties:microwaved chewy Chips Ahoy cookies).

Soon after raising $4 million, they moved into their first true office, No. 5, one block from Union Square. Like now, fellow Y Combinator company Scribd took up residence in the same building.

In 2009, Xobni got some major media attention, picked up a lot of new users, raised more money and even came out with a premium product that people are actually willing to pay for.


Four million downloads later, Xobni is chilling in its new digs, looking to catch some of Twitter’s good karma.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo credit: Mitch Aidelbaum