Acompli, From Zimbra and VMware Vets, Tees Up a Swing at Mobile Email
Acompli is a new app meant to help people deal with their work email from their phones. The appmaker’s slogan is: “Do more. Defer less.”
While the actual product is still a couple months away from launch, Acompli is announcing today that it has raised $7.3 million in funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with Harrison Metal and Felicis Ventures.
“Mobile email is the first place you read most things, but you don’t ‘do’ much email from your phone,” said Acompli co-founder and CEO Javier Soltero, who previously co-founded the application management company Hyperic, which merged with SpringSource and was acquired by VMware.
“We literally define success by enabling people to do more things with the phone three feet away from their face and with one hand,” Soltero said.
Soltero teamed up with a crew who previously created the enterprise email service Zimbra, which sold to Yahoo. That includes former Zimbra CEO Satish Dharmaraj, who is now his lead investor at Redpoint, where Soltero was an entrepreneur in residence last year.
Soltero and Dharmaraj were inspired by the success of the startup Mailbox, which sold to Dropbox last year, to think about how mobile enterprise email could be better. But while they eventually want to sell secure email to companies, they are starting out with a free tool that professionals can find and use on their own to connect their Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps as well as Outlook and Gmail accounts (providing their companies do not block outside email apps).
In an in-person meeting this week, Soltero demonstrated some of Acompli’s features in a forthcoming iPhone app, which include all sorts of shortcuts to help people schedule appointments and do other productive things within the context of an inbox, rather than switching to another app.
So, for instance, if you wanted to reply to a scheduling email within Acompli, you could select a little calendar icon next to the message, and tap on windows of availability you want to show to the other person. If you receive a formal invite email, Acompli will show within the inbox that you have a conflict, and you can long tap to deal with it directly.
Within Acompli, you can sort through emails by contact, and through an automatically generated folder of files that have been attached to emails and can be attached to future emails without being downloaded locally. If you search within the app, Acompli shows three bars of results: Contacts, keywords and phrases, and messages.
The last big innovation in mobile work email was the BlackBerry, Soltero contended. “But all the keyboard gives you is longer emails — which nobody really likes,” he said. “Everything we do, we make it require the least amount of typing possible.”
Soltero also said that Acompli is designed to be super fast at receiving new mail, but we haven’t had an opportunity to test that.