Technology entrepreneur Andrew Eye cofounded Taskbox to save time and increase productivity by turning an email inbox into a task list.
Six days ago, the startup launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 to hire more engineers and expand its operations. It’s based at Capital Factory in downtown Austin. Earlier this week, Eye spoke with Silicon Hills News about his startup, the Kickstarter campaign and his passion for changing the way people interact with their email.
Q. What does Taskbox do?
A. Taskbox turns your inbox into a task list. It’s a productivity app available for iPhone. Every email you receive that isn’t spam is a request for you to do something. The key is to change the way people are able to organize their email. Email always lists what is newest as the most important thing. But Taskbox allows you to prioritize by due date and lets you manage your email more effectively. Just because a message came in a week ago doesn’t mean it’s no longer important. Taskbox gives you the tools to define what’s at the top of the list.
Q. How did you come up with the idea for Taskbox?
A. Before Taskbox I was running a 200 person consulting business. That inspired Taskbox. My inbox was always full. I wanted to tackle one of the major problems that software hasn’t yet solved. Before Taskbox, I had 6,500 messages in my inbox. With Taskbox, I have just ten messages.
Q. How is Taskbox financed?
A. We’re 100 percent bootstrapped today. The Kickstarter funds will allow us to add engineers.
Q. Who does Taskbox compete against?
A. Two of the largest competitors are Salesforce and Asana.
Q. What sets Taskbox apart from them?
A. What’s fundamentally different about us is we don’t ask you to stop doing what you’re doing. Our strategy is just different. We’ve created a better process for that email you are already seeing. I’m never going to stop using email. This is a solution for the evolution of email. The other guys want to create entire new systems to replace email.
Q. How do you make money?
A. The app offers paid features that costs $6 per user per month.
Q. What’s a smart move you’ve made so far?
A. Our biggest success is moving into the Capital Factory that has just expanded our network. Two of the biggest experts in email, Josh Baer, founder of the Other Inbox, and Bill Boeble, founder of Webmail.us, run Capital Factory. They’ve been great mentors. It’s serendipitous.
Q. What’s your biggest mistake so far?
A. We’re still so new. I don’t know we’ve had the opportunity to make a big mistake. If I had one thing I wish I could change it’s that there are a lot of competitors in our space and we need the support of folks who want to pursue a large market.
Q. Who is the team?
A. Andrew Eye, CEO and cofounder, Adam Cianfichi, chief technology officer and cofounder, Jessica Stough, community manager and Kris Wong, mobile software engineer.
Q. What local resources do you draw upon?
A. TeXchange and Mark McClain from Salespoint, Capital Factory is the center of gravity for all startups. This is my third startup. I’ve had lots of great mentors along the way. So I wanted to give back. I’m a mentor at the University of Texas’ 1SemesterStartup.
Q. What’s your favorite coffee shop for meetings and work outside of the office?
A. Opa on South Lamar. It’s off the beaten path. It has free wi-fi and good coffee and easy parking.
Q. Anything else that you’d like to point out?
A. The big thing for us right now is what is the strategy for Taskbox. With the acquisition of Sparrow by Google (July 20th) there was a big outcry from the software community. Google buys an independent software company and immediately shuts down the product. What a shame that an independent company can’t make it anymore. We’re not trying to figure out how we can make a million dollars. We’re in this to change the business world and how people communicate. We think we can help people.
We’re not the company figuring out how to sell to Google tomorrow.
During Austin Startup Week, Eye will present Taskbox at Capital Factory’s Demo Day on Thursday, Oct. 11.