SquadMail is a service that lets you share email folders in your mailbox with any other mail account. In only a few months – and with the great support of the Berlin start-up ecosystem – we brought it from only a few beta testers to having thousands of users from over 50 countries.
In January, we had the chance to present our first alpha version of SquadMail with a live demo to the public at Webmontag. The presentation at Webmontag offered us the initial spark to get user traction and gave us a lot of feedback, which helped us to align our service to the needs of potential users.
Besides building our product and making it scalable, one next major step was pitching in “This Week In Startups Berlin”, a popular US Web TV show by Jason Calacanis. Jason, who found the solution “pretty brilliant” and also invited us to come to San Francisco and present our idea at the Launch Conference for free.
Before, we went to the Launch Conference, we released a redesign of our site. In the Valley, we got the opportunity to talk to possible partners as well as famous investors.
In the meanwhile, Zee M. Kane, CEO of “The Next Web” stumbled upon SquadMail and started using it. As a result, we got our first big article, long before a lot of German start-up magazines and blogs took even notice of us, and we were featured. We loved someone from the US writing things like “when we came across SquadMail, well our hearts skipped a few beats”.
A next milestone was, getting an article at Lifehacker. After the article was released, we could quadruple the number of registered users in less than 24 hours and thanks to scalability improvements, we did before, our service could handle it without any major problems.
Our latest success is the winning the “next big thing” start-up contest at NEXT Berlin 2012, scooping out 100 competitors and getting support from Deutsche Telekom worth 10.000 EUR.
At all times, when doing “real-world business” it was always a good feeling how using our product actually benefitted us as a team in the same way it helps our users. For example, for our journey to San Francisco, we opened a shared folder called “California”. One of us booked the hotel, the other one the rental car and everything was shared in that folder, so that everyone in the team was on the same page.
Generally, it is just very helpful to have a common structure for all communications on a team. For communicating with press or investors we have a dedicated folder to share correspondence with journalists or VCs. Even if someone is ill, another team member can easily catch up and write replies to follow up requests. Also, things tend to be forgotten less, as everyone sees new incoming replies: If an external recipient or team member replies to a shared mail, this answer will automatically be copied back to the folder and shared with all other members.
Each of those folders also has a dedicated email address, so if someone writes to our company address, the email will be stored in a shared folder, and since replies are automatically shared as well, everyone knows, which requests are still open and what other team members have answered.
He ist Co-founder & Co-CEO @SquadMail