Matt Brezina (l) and Adam Smith (r) in summer '06
It seems like ages ago when Xobni’s founders, Adam Smith and Matt Brezina, were in Cambridge during YC’s summer ’06 funding cycle. We funded them on the premise that they were going to “make email better.” They’ve been working in stealth mode since then, but it seems like the Xobni guys will deliver on their claim.
This week, Xobni launched an invitation-only beta of its first product, Xobni Insight, at the TechCrunch40 conference.
Whew-- it’s so exciting to finally be able to talk about Xobni. Their product has been in the pipeline for a while but had to be kept under wraps. It’s not a web app; it’s integrated with Outlook, so it took them a long time to write.
Xobni Insight mines your email for the relationship information hidden in it. Among the cool features: when you search for someone, their profile appears in the sidebar with contact information. It also gives you a history of your correspondence with them.
Maybe making life better for Outlook users doesn’t seem like the sexiest problem to work on, but there are a lot of them and their lives aren't so great. (I was once one of these people. Ugh.)
Fred Wilson wrote, “I realize that many of you don't use Outlook anymore and have moved on to Gmail or some other better way to do mail. But for those of us stuck in email hell in Outlook, Xobni is showing a way out...”
It also got kudos from Matt Marshall of VentureBeat: “We’ve downloaded it, and are playing with it, and find it truly impressive.”
Simultaneously with building the first version of the product, Adam and Matt had to deal with growing the company. They raised funding from an impressive group of investors: Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Atomico Investments, Baseline Ventures and several angel investors.
Last April, they brought on Gabor Cselle, a software engineer they lured away from Google. He’s a formidable hacker: the kind of employee #1 that startups hope to get. They’ve since brought on several other employees and moved into hip (but not too expensive!) new office space in San Francisco.
But most importantly, with the launch of Xobni Insight, they seem to have made something people want. And I couldn’t be happier for the Xobnis.