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Seattle-based Gist has announced it has closed a $6.75 million Series A round of funding led by Foundry Group with participation by its founding investor Vulcan Capital. Gist’s goal is to help reduce information overload by creating a dashboard that brings all of your information together and organizes it for the best possible effectiveness. Gist is currently in private beta and integrates with Outlook and Gmail. The company notes they also integrate information from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Brad Feld will join the board and the company currently employs 10 people.
Gist is led by T.A. McCann who was previously part of the Microsoft’s Exchange Server Group team.
While I don’t have access to the Gist beta, it appears that the service is similar to Xobni in that it works within email applications. Eventually the company hopes to offer a paid subscription model.
John Cook at TechFlash has an in-depth of Gist and how the service works. Cook notes, “Organizing Web information and then parsing it in such a way that it is meaningful to the reader is a big opportunity that heavyweights such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google also are attempting to address.”
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan over at the Mojo blogging network has an interesting post this evening about Xobni. Xobni (inbox spelled backwards ya’all!) is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook. Ash believes that Xobni should be acquired by Facebook, not the much rumored Microsoft acquisition.
Ash doesn’t provide backup for his argument except that the VC firms would prefer to get in bed with Facebook than Microsoft. He also notes that Facebook will eventually be acquired by Microsoft if they don’t go down the IPO route. I don’t see why Facebook would want Xobni.
Xobni is currently a valley darling and apparently has a hot product. The service currently only works with Outlook though I hear they are working on porting to other systems as well. I tried the Xobni service for several months and eventually removed it as it sucked ram big time and I never found much value in the tool which apparently provides a social graph layer on top of the traditional mailbox.
On the flipside, I enjoy reading the Xobni blog as it provides an inside look at what the team is working on, how they work and their passions, both on- and off-line. More startups need to create insider blogs as they help to humanize a technology service.
If Microsoft comes a knocking, Xobni should be quick to work with them. If they decide not to, Microsoft can easily spend the capital needed to build what Xobni has and Xobni might be looking at a darker future. Check out our previous Xobni coverage.
The Xobni team has a good article about their office and how they went about looking for space and what’s important in a space. This story comes out of San Francisco which is a bit different than NYC but nevertheless it has some good content.
Some notes from the article:
- The first rule in real estate also applies to startup offices. You need to be in a great location. You want to be close to public transportation.
- We typically order in food for lunch and go out for dinner even though we have a fully stocked fridge and snack cabinet. You want to be in a place where this is possible without excessive travel; the hours after dinner are the most productive hours for writing code.
- We have rooms for 3-4 people each. This is about the size of an engineering subteam will have. Being around people who are all working on the same thing encourages communication about the right things, but keeps interruptions down.
- We also have a quiet nap room with a comfy couch. Taking naps at the workplace sounds unprofessional, but it does make everyone more productive.
- You only have one back and if you spend a lot of time in a chair, it better be a nice one. That’s why we spend money on Aerons, which we buy used from Craigslist. Everything else is Ikea.
One thing they leave out is making sure you have room to expand for at least the short-term. Moving into a place only to need to move again in a few months can be very costly and time-consuming. They also leave out the fact that they are well funded and that this isn’t the bootstrappers setup.
I was really looking forward to using Xobni after their TC40 demo. It was one of the more well-received demos and I went home and installed the product. The idea is to make Outlook smarter. So far I haven’t found the tool to be of much value. But it sure does suck ram. Anywhere between 5-20mb at any given time and it sits in memory even when Outlook isn’t loaded. Why? Not only that but loading Outlook takes 5x longer now than before Xobni.
I will most likely be uninstalling Xobni soon. It just hasn’t shown me enough value for the cost.
Here are my live notes from the Session 5 – Productivity and Web Applications. This post will be considered live until I note it has concluded.
- A new look at your email – effortless integration of your email
- Helps you to expose a hidden social network
- Best way to find an important email
- Fastest way to find an attachment
- seems pretty interesting – i guess it looks like gmail threading but it does it over time
- ties into calendar
- pretty cute presentation
- available for microsoft outlook now
- wrap-up – view threaded conversations, find attachments, use a social network from your email and search email and people
Merges emails from anywhere into one place
They call it a cockpit for inbox
Orgoo lets you record a video message
Not a packaged demo – nice!
Integrates all buddy lists into one from all services
Opens in tabs
You can create a chat room with participants from multiple networks and embed as well
Search chat, im, and email all together in one search
Very impressive I must say
- Build a web app with no knowledge for anyone who has the knowledge level of knowing excel
- Ok, this looks WAY more complicated than they sold it as
- you spend your life working for your money but do you know where your money goes?
- completely free
- completely anonymous
- another one who wants my ((*%)@%) bank account info – who the f are they for me to trust them – trust is earned my friend
- updated daily
- 4 patents they filed for
- all your transactions from all sources in one place
- claims that they are the first to show you spam offers to save you money – geezeo does this now i believe
- mint is so easy to use you will actually use it – from the founder
I am sorry but I couldn’t catch up to review Kerpoof. It’s a cute kids tool. Would be better if it was educational.
Expert Panel Discussion
Esther – before I would fund anything, I would want to know more about their track records. Based on what I saw it would be Xobni. She is an investor in Wesabe but she would use Mint.
Guy – I would absolutely meet with Kerpoof. Xobni is a horrible name.
Roelof – Three of them stand out in my mind. Very impressed with Mint as they execute incredibly well. Impressed with Xobni – I worry about their need for a client.
Mike – I like everyone of these except xobni cuz im a mac guy. Mint did a good job with guerilla marketing.
What are your business models:
Mint – lead generation
Kerpoof – subscriber fees
Xobni – vertical solutions