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The Prismatic Logo
Prismatic Homepage screenshot, June 2014.png
Prismatic’s homepage in June 2014
Type of business Private
Type of site
Social network service, News aggregator
Available in English
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served Worldwide
Founder(s) Bradford Cross, Aria Haghighi
Industry Internet
Commercial Yes
Launched April 10, 2012 (2012-04-10)
Current status Closed in December 2015 [1] (news app)
Written in Clojure, ClojureScript

Prismatic was a social news curation and discovery application for various Web browsers and mobile devices running iOS. It combined machine learning, user experience design, and interaction design to create a new way to discover, consume, and share media. Prismatic software used social network aggregation and machine learning algorithms to filter the content that aligns with the interests of a specific user. Prismatic integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and Pocket[2] to gather information about user's interests and suggest the most relevant stories to read.

Prismatic initially launched in 2012 for Web browsers and the iPhone,[3] followed by the release of an iPad app on December 19, 2013.[4]

On December 20, 2015 the company closed its consumer-facing apps and focused on offering its machine learning algorithms to publishers and hedge funds.[5]

Prismatic was produced by Prismatic, Inc., a United-States-based software company founded in 2010 by Bradford Cross and Aria Haghighi and headquartered in San Francisco, California.


The Prismatic app was centered on a feed of news stories. Users can share stories to connected services like Twitter and Facebook, save stories for later reading, comment on stories, and browse tens of thousands of topics.[6]

People can do three main things on Prismatic: Tell the service what topics they are interested in and which people they want to follow; read and look at the suggested articles and photos; and share content back to those topics. Support for video is coming next.


Though the Prismatic app was featured on the front page of the Apple app store, and Prismatic received $15m funding [8] back in 2012, the industry of news aggregation apps have been difficult to break through [9] and Prismatic had to close their doors on December 20, 2015.


Prismatic was founded by Bradford Cross and Aria Haghighi in 2010. Before starting Prismatic, Cross was a head of research at Flightcaster,[10] a Y Combinator funded startup. Haghighi received a BS in Mathematics at Stanford and completed an NLP and machine learning focused PhD at UC Berkeley before joining Prismatic.

The initial technical and design research was completed in the winter of 2010. The first prototypes were ready by April 2011. Invitation only beta opened in April 2012 followed by a public web app release in June 2012. An iPhone app was released in August 2012.[11] Prismatic released version 2.0.0 on Apple’s App Store in December 2013.


Prismatic raised $1.5 million in venture financing in early 2012[12] from investors including Battery Ventures and Javelin Venture Partners. On December 5, 2012 Prismatic announced that it had raised $15 million in Series A from Jim Breyer and Yuri Milner[13]

Public response[edit]

Prismatic had been positively reviewed by multiple news outlets, including The New York Times,[14] TechCrunch,[15] Business Insider,[16] GigaOm,[17] AllThingsD,[18] and PandoDaily.[19]

Apple had repeatedly featured the Prismatic iOS app. Prismatic had an average rating of 4.5 stars on the iOS App Store, from over 2,000 user ratings.[20]


Prismatic primarily uses Clojure[21][22] and ClojureScript in production. Prismatic has open-sourced a large part of its technology stack on GitHub,[23] including Plumbing,[24] om-tools,[25] Schema,[26] fnHouse,[27] and hiphip.[28]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Prismatic Opens Its News Discovery Service To Everyone, Adds Facebook And Google Reader Sign-Ups". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "News Discovery Startup Prismatic Is Ready For The Masses, Thanks To Its New iPhone App". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Prismatic Social News App Overhauls for a Better Personal Interest Graph". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "As personalized news evolves, Prismatic is closing its apps". Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  6. ^ ""In the Studio," Prismatic's Bradford Cross Wants to Reinvent Social News". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Prismatic Social News App Overhauls for a Better Personal Interest Graph". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ The Rise And Fall Of Venture-Backed News Readers In One Chart
  10. ^ "Prismatic's Bradford Cross: First we understand media, then the world". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  11. ^ ""In the Studio," Prismatic's Bradford Cross Wants to Reinvent Social News". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Prismatic Hopes to Create a New Category of Social News". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Accel, Jim Breyer, Yuri Milner Back 'Social News' Startup Prismatic - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ. (2012-12-05). Retrieved on 2014-02-27.
  14. ^ "Prismatic Hopes to Create a New Category of Social News". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Prismatic Updates Its News Discovery App To Bring You The Best Of Everything You're Interested In". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "This New Web App Will Make You Want To Ditch Google Reader". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Prismatic wants to be the newspaper for a digital age". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Prismatic Social News App Overhauls for a Better Personal Interest Graph". Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Finding News Is One Thing, Understanding It Is Another—Prismatic Does Both, and Fast". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Prismatic: A Personalized and Social News Reader". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Bringing functional to the frontend: Clojure + ClojureScript for the web". Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Why Prismatic Goes Faster With Clojure". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Prismatic on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Plumbing on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "om-tools on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Schema on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "fnHouse on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "hiphip on GitHub". Retrieved 4 June 2014. 


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