By Ankesh Kumar, SocialMail founder and CEO
Elevator Pitch: With email overload at an all-time high, keeping your inbox clean can be a hefty challenge. SocialMail gives you a SocialMail email address that you can use to subscribe to newsletters, which then will be in your SocialMail account and not in your inbox.
SocialMail gives people an alternative to having newsletters delivered into their inbox. We aggregate all the newsletters, allowing people to view them without adding more bulk to one’s email account. If we don’t have the newsletter you wish to view, you can always subscribe using your ‘@socialmail.com’ address. Your subscriptions are displayed in a ‘Pinterest-style’ grid, allowing you to consume content visually, versus through subject lines.
The idea came about because of the opposing emotions I had with email newsletters. I was at a San Jose Earthquakes soccer game with a friend, it was a Saturday night, we’re drinking beer and having fun. A girl in an Earthquake’s jersey comes over and asks: “Would you like to receive discounted tickets and shirts from the Earthquakes for signing up for our newsletter?” I was totally caught up in the atmosphere and said: “Hell yeah.” Monday morning, I get into the office and open my email—126 unread—including one from the Earthquakes, which I promptly deleted to get my emails down so I could focus on the work I had. I thought to myself: “less than 48 hours ago I was so into the Earthquakes and now I deleted without opening, what’s that all about?”
It became clear that newsletters were in the wrong place for me. Keeping up with them can be a PAIN. My inbox was my to-do list, two way communication, text based. Newsletters are one way, visual and are about content discovery. I opted into them because they kept me informed about my favorite products, news, social interests, etc., but I found them a little overwhelming as they filled up my mailbox. SocialMail was designed as a solution—one place to control all of our subscriptions without cluttering a personal or professional email inbox. Our goal is to get rid of the frustration email users experience with newsletters. We believe our users will have cleaner inboxes, and a more enjoyable newsletter experience with an added ability to discover and share new newsletter content aligned with their interests.
I’ve transformed four companies from startup to success. I founded an IT staffing company with no funding and took it to $20 million in four years. In addition, for other ventures I’ve raised a total of $50 million in venture capital. SearchReviews aggregates and summarizes consumer reviews. Grouptivity provided a unique social environment for web content saving and sharing; the technology is now a part of Google Plus. In 2001, I formed appMail, specializing in the development of SaaS [Software-as-a-Service] business applications in the area of employee time off and applicant tracking. I also founded Personic Software, Inc., a leader in the applicant tracking space, with over 60,000 users worldwide and customers like Walmart, CNET, and Accenture.
Using a combination of social media, we are able to share the solution with millions of email users experiencing newsletter frustration. If you like our page—‘sharesocialmail’ on Facebook/Twitter, we post trending newsletters for our users to enjoy. We use similar tactics involving email marketing. We’re also optimizing our SEO for brand-specific newsletter searches.
We also see a lot of potential in partnering with brands that want to promote their content to our user base.
Market Opportunity/Competitor Differentiation
There are currently 2.5 billion email users and growing, most of whom are receiving email newsletters. Studies show about half of email ‘unsubscribes’ are because users are overwhelmed with the content they receive. This is an extremely large market—big opportunity if our product can solve this problem for a fraction of those users…you can do the math.
We have several competitors—PeeqPeeq, Unroll.Me, and Gmail Tabs. We are the only ones that provide an email address that users can use to subscribe for newsletters. In addition, we differentiate through display/UI, the types of content, and enabling non-registered users to browse our library of newsletters. There are of course other differences, such as social characteristics, trending, etc. P.S.: Look out for near-future updates.
SocialMail is the ultimate opt-in marketing site. Users, by subscribing to newsletters, have indicated brands and interests they prefer. Hence, they expect to be recommended offers and other content that meets their taste preferences.
Revenue streams will be the following:
- Premium placement/promotion at scale (à la Pinterest)
- Premium ad-free (maybe extra features) version (user pays)
- Advanced data/analytics (brand/marketer pays)
We would really appreciate more user feedback. Overall, we’re aiming at creating a product that meets or exceeds the needs of newsletter viewers. We have a feedback tab on the site. Any feedback regarding your experience, UI, expectations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We’re also in the process of raising a round of funding.
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Founder: Ankesh Kumar
Headquarters: Palo Alto
Year Founded: 2012