One of the problems with mailing lists today, especially when used for business purposes or to organize large groups around some sort of project, is that they can quickly become overwhelming. Annoyed, many users then create a filter to archive the mailing list so that it stays out of their inbox. Threadable supported by Y Combinator, a new mailing list management solution, wants to offer a better solution.
It aims to improve group communication within teams by making emails more actionable. Simply put, emails sent with Threadable allow users to quickly turn off discussion threads, turn threads into tasks and claim them, mark tasks as completed, and more.
The company was created, as many are, out of personal frustration, says co-founder Ian Baker. Previously of Pivotal Labs and Wikipedia, he founded the company with Nicole Aptekar, Jared Grippe and Aaron Muszalski last November, but said the team has been working more casually on the idea for about a year.
Muszalski also worked at Wikipedia, as well as Upwell and Industrial Light and Magic, creating digital effects for films like Star Wars. Meanwhile, Influenza came from Change.org, where he helped scale their platform up to 10 million users. Aptekar worked as a product manager at Apportable and technical director for the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts.
And while the team had all encountered the challenges of team communication in their previous endeavors, they had also encountered the same issues out of time, too, when organizing volunteers who helped them with major artistic projects and installations that they would bring together. to build, like their project âDance Dance Immolationâ, a Burning Man crush, which combines Dance Dance Revolution mechanics, fireproof suits and flamethrowers.
âWe kept evolving it, making it bigger and bigger,â says Baker. âOur group is about 200 people now, and organizing all these people was really difficult. We tried tools for organizing groups, like project management tools and group task managers, and the problem was, none of that really stuck. It was difficult to get the whole team to use them, âhe explains.
“But our old mailing list that we had been using for years was really a success.”
People continued to use the mailing list, but no one really love the mailing list, says Baker. So the team realized that there was an opportunity to create a mailing list solution that was actually good.
With Threadable, the idea is to offer tools specifically designed for group management. One of Threadable’s flagship features is the ability to break down smaller groups having their own chats into subgroups, so those who are not involved in that particular thread will stop receiving those messages, keeping their inbox. silent.
Meanwhile, a mute button is included in threads, allowing you to unsubscribe from specific threads at any time. Email threads can also be turned into tasks, and tasks and activities that you create on other platforms, like Trello for example, can also be turned into email notifications.
But Threadable’s most powerful feature is its support for webhooks, which allows an organization to do just about anything to pre-process emails before they’re sent to groups. For example, you could have foreign language discussion threads automatically translated through the Google Translate API, content preview for confidential information, execute remote commands via email, automatically send SMS alerts, and more. Again.
The end result is a fairly robust communications solution that still has the benefits of working via email. Mailing lists, Baker notes, are always popular because they meet people where they are, instead of mixing them up to learn new tools.
The company started its closed beta in December and just opened to the public about a week ago. Already, Threadable has grown to 220 organizations and is expected to handle 250,000 emails this month. While they are not able to track their customer’s engagement metrics, in some cases they have found that after moving a traditional mailing list to Threadable, engagement has increased from 2 to 4. times.
Threadable’s user base is diverse, with clients including small software companies, large-scale art projects (like theirs), private groups, a medical device maker, and more. The plan is to keep the current product free, which would allow any organization to use it, regardless of their budget. In the future, they will charge for specific features designed for business users, as well as for an on-premise solution for corporate clients. However, the price of these levels remains to be determined.
The four-person San Francisco-based startup had a small angel funding before Y Combinator, but will be looking to close a bigger round after Demo Day.