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PowerInbox Aims To Transform Boring Static Email

Email is dead. We’ve all heard that clarion call more than a few times.

But here’s a startup that aims to help email avoid that fate, by transforming boring, static email as we know it. Founded in 2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based PowerInbox is an email technology company that hopes to do exactly that by enabling live, interactive email inside of most popular email services, such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook. By incorporating its service, companies can incorporate e-commerce, videos, photos, real-time updates and more within the body of email messages.

“Until today, people interacted with emails by hitting reply or forward, or by clicking on URLs to launch webpages – taking you outside the context of email,” explains Matt Thazhmon, founder and CEO of PowerInbox. “All this back-and-forth drains productivity and effectiveness. PowerInbox lets people stay where interaction begins – inside emails.” PowerInbox allows email to work dynamically, almost like a website. Content providers, marketers, social communicators and others can use the platform to engage email recipients – watch, play, shop, share, listen, rent, find, learn, survey, schedule and more – all inside of their emails.

Dynamic Email

But the power in PowerInbox – pardon the pun – comes into its own with the opening up of its APIs to developers and partners. PowerInbox announced various partners from different industries to show how they’ve leveraged the platform to change the experience of email: Enables one-click snoozing of emails for later review.
– Fundraise: Allows donations inside emails.
NextWidgets: Browse store items inside emails.
OmniStrat: Enables response to SocialStrat panel activity within emails.
Senexx: Facilitates construction of enterprise knowledge inside emails.
Smak: Enables communication alerts within emails.
Symbyoz: Connect with your network inside emails.
TimeTrade: Schedule meetings within emails.
TumbleCube: Enables project management inside emails.
Vsnap: Allows Vsnap videos to be viewed within emails.

Vsnap CEO David McLaughlin says his company is using the PowerInbox platform because it greatly enhances social engagement for users. “Vsnap allows people to send video messages through email. Allowing recipients to view those videos right in the body of emails promotes a rich and immediate experience.”

Thazhmon points out that companies adopting PowerInbox gain the advantage of a new and engaging form of communication that is very simple to build. “We’re looking forward to seeing just how innovative people can be with this new platform.”

The PowerInbox platform currently supports Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail through Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Rockmelt. Support for Thunderbird is expected by end of Q2 2012 with mobile devices supported later this year.

So perhaps, just perhaps, that rumors of email’s impending death may still be wildly exaggerated.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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