Disclaimer: I’m not on WhatsApp. It made it too easy to communicate with my lads and lovelies and I hated it! Why? Because I make my living with my email account and it is never this easy with email, especially on the phone! Instant messaging applications have spoiled us with chat bubbles, quick media sharing and seamless group broadcasting. Now compare it with the mobile email experience – there is nothing good to write about it! Emails are still hugely popular with the not-teen crowd and while the desktop email experience is very, well, formal (as it is supposed to be) the mobile experience can use a lot of tweaking since on-the-go communication requires a more casual and streamlined approach.
And why stop at streamlining? MailTime offers features that dramatically rethinks how emailing should be done.
The MailTime Team
When I was 13 the only thing that mattered was whether my beard will grow or not. But Heatherm Huang, CEO and founder of MailTime, was busy running an online forum that he created! Some are born entrepreneurs they say, and Mr. Huang went on to create Jiong Daily – a popular online video channel in China.
Then there was Talkbox, a sort of spiritual parent to MailTime, which had 13 million users. Mr. Huang met Gary Lau, CTO and co-founder, while working on Talkbox, and they have been talking and thinking out of the box ever since! They went to the various startup events in Hong Kong and kept bumping into Charlie Sheng. She became the CMO of MailTime.
Together, they did all the work in setting up the venture but needed more hands on-board as MailTime started to grow. They moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, a treasure trove of talents, and expanded their team with fresh recruits.
More than a Fresh Coat of Paint
An email app is one of the most frequently used apps on your phone and the great thing about emails is that they are universal – all you need is an email address. Whereas, closed network instant messengers like Apple iMessage, only allows communication between users of its service. But email brings with it unnecessary clutter like signatures, quoted texts and other redundant metadata. And don’t even get me started on CC vs. BCC!
“We developed a smart content parsing engine which strips out all the unnecessary bits of email and converts it into a format that resembles text messaging, making it more mobile friendly, conversational and efficient”, explains Mr. Huang. That’s not all, with MailTime you can create to-do lists that can be assigned to people from your contact book (linked to your email’s contact book) using the popular “@name” technique. This also makes adding people to a conversation more contextual instead of just sending the same message to a dozen different address. Attachments too become smarter in MailTime with Dropbox integration and images can be simply shared inline. Finally, MailTime enforces word limit to encourage users to be more concise.
MailTime faces competition from business collaboration services like Slack and HipChat but has the advantage of being seamlessly integrated with your existing email account. The company plans to charge its users for adding more than one email account but the app itself is free on iOS and coming soon for Android phones.