Startup of the day: ccGenie turns your exchanged emails into an organized project
All you need to do is forward your emails to a dedicated address to organize a project
Frenchweb invites you today to discover ccGenie, a Parisian startup offering an online collaboration tool that turns a heap of emails into an organized project.
It analyzes and organizes the content of e-mails exchanged within the framework of a project. All you have to do is send or forward an e-mail to the “genie” so that he extracts the conversations, documents, links and contacts, which are then automatically classified and indexed within a collaborative space in line dedicated to the project.
More details with Nitsan Seniak, the co-founder.
FW: How did you get the idea for your company?
Nitsan Seniak : We had met, in our past experiences, several companies having invested in a collaborative tool supposed to replace mailboxes. But none have succeeded. Staff continued to use email as a basic means of communication and the tool was gradually phased out.
Email is extremely convenient and traditional. It conveys a tremendous amount of useful information. A tool to be connected to update information or discuss is quickly perceived as overloading. People say to themselves, “I don’t have time to do the job twice. So they go back to their emails. So we said to ourselves that instead of trying to fight e-mail, we had to build value with it.
FW: What need are you responding to?
Email is a good point-to-point communication tool, but it reaches its limits when used in a project where members need to stay coordinated. Information on the project is scattered throughout the various boxes. What is missing is a way to see and act globally: what is the most up-to-date information? Who knows what? Who does what ?
This is the “pain point” that collaboration tools seek to address, and most do so by attempting to substitute for email. With ccGenie, we provide a pragmatic solution, by transforming a flood of emails into an organized project.
FW: Very simply, how do you make money?
For now, access is free, and will remain so for our current users. We plan to set up a model freemium where the user will subscribe to a paid subscription to access features premium and remove limitations on the sizing of projects.
Our first market is that of freelancers and SMEs. The model freemium is well suited to them. But since the e-mail problem is very pressing in large companies, we will also position ourselves in this market, with a more traditional business licensing model.
FW: Who are your competitors?
Our competitors are the tools for collaboration and project management in general. Among the best known are SharePoint, Basecamp and Azendoo. Some of them offer connections to e-mail in one form or another, but none is designed from its inception as an extension of the workflow of the mail. So far ccGenie is unique in this approach.
FW: What was one of the first issues in your development, and how did you deal with it?
The first difficulty was to define a technical architecture integrating within the same platform the workflow email and that of a collaborative social tool, and to develop data models and algorithms capable of intelligently processing email content. We are constantly working to improve them.
Through our background, we, the founders of ccGenie, have a strong R&D culture, and we anticipated these technical issues. However, we did not have a web marketing culture and realized how difficult it is to make yourself known in such a competitive environment. We therefore train on the job, we have help and learn to do with the means at hand. Progress remains to be made but ccGenie has a “product hook” that speaks to people, and that helps a lot.
FW: What is your main asset in this market?
Our product is designed and positioned as an extension of the email, not as a “mail killer”. Unique and pragmatic, it responds to a real need that the public understands and appreciates.
FW: What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
“Do things that don’t scale” (“Do things that don’t scale”, note). This is the title of the blog of Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator. I recommend reading it, especially to founders who come from a corporate background.
FW: Which personality do you admire the most?
Nelson Mandela, for his courage and incredible positive leadership.
Founders : Nitsan Seniak, Antoine Melki, Eric Brisson
Investors : Private investors (business angels)
Creation date : November 2012
Number of employees : 3
Sales figures : 0
Company based in : Paris and San-Francisco
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