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A Revolution In Email Management: Xobni Makes Email Management Easy

Xobni is a growing privately owned company which is based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2006.  The company offers innovative software that allows users to easily manage emails.  The uniqueness of the company starts with its name, Xobni is actually inbox spelled backwards and it describes the company’s product very well.  Xobni was started by its founders, because they thought that people wasted way too much time in sorting through their email inboxes, looking for emails.  What Xobni’s software does is that it basically is a plugin for Outlook email programs.  Xobni software allows users to manage the emails in their inboxes by creating profiles of each individual who sends an email to the user’s inbox.   The profile creation allows users to put in relationship data, contact information, social connections, and much more. 

Xobni employs 15 people and has four people on its management team, who are Adam Smith, cofounder and CEO; Matt Brezina, cofounder; Gabor Csell, Vice President of Engineering, and Jeff Bonforte, CEO.

Xobni is similar to some other tech startups in that its cofounders are graduate school or college dropouts.  This was also the case with Microsoft and Bill Gates and Apple, with Steve Jobbs.  In a like scenario, both Adam Smith and Matt Brezina dropped out of Graduate School and became full time successful entrepreneurs.  In 2007, the two former students launched a beta test of the Xobni software that is widely used today by Outlook users.  Adam Smith was born in Dallas Texas in 1985 and has been programming computers since he was 13 years old.  Further more, Mr. Smith also at 13 started his first software company, Vira Tech Development.  He studied computer science at MIT and generating great software is what Adam does best.  Matt Brezina was born in 1981 and grew up near Penn State University.  Mr. Brezina believes in good strong friendship and likes to build deep relationships with his friends.  Matt’s academic background is in electrical engineering and believes that engineering provides a discipline that is crucial in building a startup company. 

Gabor Cselle is the VP of engineering at Xobni and he is the one responsible for constantly improving the company’s product.  Before coming to Xobni, Mr. Cselle was designing software for Google in Zurich, Switzerland.   While working for Google, Mr. Cselle worked on all kinds of projects closed to the public at the time, including Gmail’s inception.   Mr. Cselle also built reBoxed as an experiment in prioritizing emails and also did some experiments with other applications.  He is also the cofounder of Remail and other achievements also include graduating from ETH Zurich, in Switzerland with an MS in Computer Science. 

One of the CEOs of Xobni, Jeff Bonforte, has a rather interesting biography.  He was first working at Yahoo, where he was laid off as were many other employees at Yahoo and right after that he landed his position as CEO at Xobni.  While working at Yahoo, Jef Bonforte was the vice president of Social Search.  Mr. Bonforte is an avid skydiver and has been a major contributor to Xobni since he was hired as the company’s CEO. 

Xobni has quite a few investors as well.  These investors include Y Combinator, Ariel Poler, Saar Gur, Tom Pinkney, Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, and Atomico Investments. 

Y Combinator provided the seed funding for Xobni, which is mainly the type of funding that Y Combinator invests in, focusing on startups in the tech industry.  Y Combinator is a rather unique investment firm, because all of its partners are tech junkies and have great experience in computer and information technology and software development.  Y Combinator is not a big investment firm and only offers seed funding to startups, but the expertise of Y Combinator’s partners is an invaluable asset to budding tech companies who want to build a product prototype that is innovative enough to get an impressive market standing to attract other larger investors. 

Ariel Poler is an independent investor who also works as the CEO for TexMarks and has also played key roles in other successful internet startup companies.  Mr. Poler founded such companies as IPRO, Topica, and was on the founding board of Kana Software.   Mr. Poler also sits on Bills.com’s board of directors.

Saar Gur is a venture capitalist with Charles River Ventures as well as an entrepreneur.   Mr. Gur was a cofounder of Carbadges, which was later acquired by FaceBook.  He also helped found BrightRoll and advised such companies as Fixster, RockYou, VoiceStar among others.

Khosla Ventures is a vc firm that likes to pride itself on “building business.”  Khosla Ventures often leverages relationships with its portfolio entrepreneurs to build a team that has what it takes to succeed in the marketplace.  Along with providing the necessary capital needed to start up a company, Khosla Ventures works together with the entrepreneur on laying out, refining and gives opinions on the business plan of that particular entrepreneur.  Some of Khosla’s investments include DB4Objects, eASIC, MetaRam, Tapulous, iLike, and others.

First Round Capital is a vc firm that mainly invests in early stage companies and is managed by Joshua Kopelman, Chris Fralic, Rob Hayes, and Rob Morgan.  First Round Capital likes to find entrepreneurs who create innovative tech companies.  First Round Capital mainly specializes in seed funding and funds pre-revenue companies.  The people at First Round Capital understand the difficulties and challenges of launching a new company and marketing a new product and are wiling to work with the right entrepreneurs.

Baseline Ventures is a private investment firm that is owned by Ron Conway, also known as “The Godfather of Silicon Valley.”   Mr. Conway is an angel investor who likes to make small investments in many startup companies throughout the internet industry.  What makes Mr. Conway so amazing is that during the 1990s he managed to invest in over 240 startup companies during the course of three years.  One of his investments is Google, which is still going strong today.   Other companies that Baseline Capital has invested in are Twitter, PB Wiki, Mint Software, Vsocial, Digg, and others.

Atomico Investment is a vc firm founded by Skype’s Nikkas Zennström and mainly focuses on internet and media companies.   Some of Atomico’s investments include Chemist Direct, Deca, Von, Viagogo, and others.

According to the New York Times, in May 5, 2008 Xobni had announced the launch of its new free software, which is a plugin for Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft enjoys other companies, who make improvements to their product.  Xobni is no different.  In fact, Bill Gates even demonstrated Xobni’s software in San Jose and even claimed that it is “the next generation of social networking.”

According to Cnet, on January 5, 2009, Xobni was able to raise $7 million from Cisco Systems. 

On January 20, 2009, the London Telegraph raves about Xobni’s new email managing app saying that this program can show all the emails a user has sent over a given topic.  Xobni also allows the user to create templates of emails for various functions.  Furthermore Xobni is easy to install and installs on the users computer quickly.

Though Xobni is an innovative company with a good growth rate in the marketplace, it does have some competitors.  One of Xobni’s major competitors is Xoopit, which runs a website that allows users to view photos and videos from major websites, such as flickr and YouTube.  Xoopit is a privately owned corporation that is based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2004.   Xoopit has four people on its management team.

Another major competitor is ClearContext which is a privately owned corporation, based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2003.  The company has three people on its management team and offers users applications that allow the users to work more effectively and efficiently with their emails.
A third competitor is Skydeck, which was founded in 2007 and is based in San Mateo, California.  It is a privately owned company that employs six people and has two people on its management team.  Skydeck offers a service that unlocks the valuable information hidden in a consumer’s cellphone bill and then its secure software reaches the consumer’s cellphone company and combines it with your online address books.

For more information on Xobni, click here.