Local start-up Noosbox is hoping its selection in the Startmate entrepreneur program will boost the success of its email-sharing application — an idea borne out of frustrations in helping solve customer problems.
The idea was conceived several months ago by Andrew Jessup and Phil Lee, who qualified for the recently closed Startmate program, which offers five start-ups $25,000 seed funding and mentoring support from successful Australian entrepreneurs.
The pair struck on the idea for Noosbox following their experiences in large organisations, where customers would call for support but the staff couldn't access the information to understand the problem.
"Customers would be calling us with problems and we'd be spending most of our time just trying to figure out what went wrong," Jessup said.
"We realised that if there was simply a smarter way to share our conversations with each other ahead of time then we wouldn't need to spend so much time figuring out what went wrong later."
Noosbox is a web-based application that integrates with a business' email systems to provide access to staff emails.
"We're finding ways to help you share email conversations with your colleagues so it's easier for everyone to be on the same page when dealing with customers, and even with each other."
Due to be launched in April, Noosbox will initially target Google Apps, and then Exchange and Lotus Notes in the future, Jessup said.
Noosbox has no customers as yet, but is working with several partners, Jessup said, who also admitted that several competitors have recently emerged in the space including Rapportive, Mingly and Etacts (recently acquired by Salesforce).
"We think our products fill a gap in the market for organisations that need something more powerful than email to keep track of their customer conversations, but find full-blown customer relationship management systems like Salesforce too cumbersome and expensive."
The idea has come from a genuine failing of current email systems: the inability to easily share relevant information. The pair also have the support of established entrepreneurs.
It hasn't been developed yet, and the first release only targets Google Apps and Gmail, which has a relatively small install base compared to Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes.
A huge market exists for this type of software.
It would be game over if one of the established email players develop this functionality on their own.
Businesses are definitely crying out for a tool to help share email. The test for Noosbox will be to deliver on its promise and do it in a secure manner. With the support of the Startmate founders it should hopefully overcome these early hurdles and succeed.