The start was easy – while working at Skype we used Skype IM as our main collaboration tool. We saw the advantages of chat collaboration over email, at the same time Skype IM had several shortcomings with message delivery so we thought why not to build a better chat ourselves.
When we started to look into market and talked to people we understood that building better chat than Skype is nice but there’s actually much bigger opportunity ahead of us – we should build a viable alternative to email conversations. Despite various IM and collaboration tools being on the market for long time, email is still the main communication channel in work related conversations. So there has to be something in email which drives people back to this 40+ years old technology. We wanted to understand what it is and can we do anything about it.
If we compared email to IM services then above everything else two things stood out:
- Email is universal – the ability to write to anyone who has an email address makes email de facto standard for work communication
- Email is built for sending letters not to host conversations – while email apps try to present the letters in a conversation-like view they can’t do much about the underlying technology. IM is built from ground up around conversation metaphor, where membership, topic, messages and files are all combined together and it has clear advantage here.
So our conclusion was – there is a gap in the communication market between open but technically limited email and IM services – we should close this gap and become viable alternative for your work conversations. That’s why we are building Fleep.