At Solid, We’re working on improving the experience of the meeting. There’s a lot to be done, and we had to narrow down our approach. So we chose to focus on the preparation, note taking and following up phases of your meetings. Since meetings are an intricate process, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Along our journey, we often come across other startups addressing the way we meet. Come Better Meetings: a series of interviews showcasing some of the great startups we encounter.
Olof is a co-founder and the CEO of Mixmax, a productivity suite for email. Mixmax’s vision is to let you do everything you do on the web directly in email. With Mixmax, you can: share your availability to set up meetings, send polls, set future reminders for yourself or your team, embed content into your emails, track opens and transfers, save templates… the list is long and keeps growing.
Lately, the team raised $1.5 million from Harrison Metal and angels including Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame, and Soundcloud CEO Alex Ljung.
Thibaut Davoult (Solid): Hi Olof. To start off this interview, can you tell me a bit about the team?
Olof Mathé (Mixmax): We started as three co-founders. We were product, design and engineering leads at a startup called Inkling and decided to do our own thing. Since then, we grew to a team of six through hiring friends of friends to ramp up our dev team.
Thibaut: Why and when did you start working on Mixmax? What led you to the idea?
Olof: My two co-founders and I are passionate about communication and productivity. For us, there’s a huge gap between what’s happened in email in the past 30 years, which is virtually nothing has changed, and the web in general. While the web has benefitted from tons of exciting improvements, email is still pretty much plain text and nothing more. We want to bridge that gap thanks to the newer, better technologies that are now widely available.
Our goal is to make communications more expressive and productive. Improving email is a better path towards that goal.
Thibaut: Why does this work matter?
Olof: There’s a lot of frustration using email. And still everybody uses it. In a way, our goal with Mixmax is to let you send fewer emails to reach the same results. We want to do this by making your inbox smarter. For example, scheduling meetings can typically lead to a lot of back-and-forth. So we’ve made a few improvements to let you easily share your availability with someone else, or a group of people. This saves you time, as well as saves time for the other parties involved.
Thibaut: Can you tell us a bit more about the users Mixmax is for?
Olof: Typically, the companies that use Mixmax are SMBs. Within those, we’re seeing a lot of business owners, managers, business development people, marketers. All of whom have a lot of “sales” use cases without necessarily being salespeople, they mostly want to save time and gain in productivity.
We also have quite a devoted user base of developers. That’s because we have built markdown support and let developers send snippets of code with proper syntax highlighting and indentation.
While SMBs constitute our main user base, the number of large businesses on Mixmax is growing.
Thibaut: Focusing on the product, why did you decide to do it that way? Why Gmail first?
Olof: Gmail has a billion users, so it’s not too narrow of a niche. Gmail users are typically early adopters, so they’re more likely to try Mixmax, and help us iterate quickly through insightful feedback. We just feel like it’s a great starting point for us, and of course our goal is to extend to further clients and web browsers. For now, Gmail and Chrome is a great combination. When we’re ready, we’ll launch on other browsers and email clients.
Thibaut: What is the last big update you pushed?
Olof: Actually, the group scheduling feature I mentioned earlier is the latest big thing we’ve built. We tried to make it easier to schedule a meeting with several people. The way it works is you’ll send out a poll with several dates and times. It’s embedded within the email and each receiver can answer with the times that work best. It’s integrated directly within your email, no one esle does that
We also added shortcuts, pushing productivity a little bit further. We were inspired by Slack and how well their slash commands integrate within their product. It works similarly on Mixmax: you type “/yourcommand”, then press enter to do a specific action or integrate something within your email.
Thibaut: Is there a feature you are working on right now that you want to tell us about?
Olof: Sure, one big thing to look forward to is cloud hosted attachments. File attachments are very broken in email. You can’t update them, it takes a lot of time to upload, they can’t be too large… We’re integrating cloud hosting so that you can share attachments with rest of the team, easily edit them
We’ll also soon bring shared templates to our already popular templates feature. You can already save email snippets that you often use, but you’ll soon be able to make them available to teammates.
Thibaut: What are interesting user stories or feedback you received?
Olof: We make sure to save some of the awesome feedback we get. One of my favorite quotes has to be this one: “I LOVE Mixmax. It’s like taking my Gmail on a cosmic journey through space and time.” Another thing we love to hear as well is how some users switch to Chrome in order to be able to use Mixmax or stay on Gmail so they can use Mixmax rather than switching to Inbox.
Do you use Mixmax to ramp up your productivity? We’d love to hear about your experience.
If you’re working on a startup you think we should feature on this blog, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org 😉