Hello, we’re Astro! Today we’re launching our Public Beta, available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. This is the first major step towards our goal of making communication at work more intelligent. Our apps bring together everything you’ve come to expect from modern email apps, plus machine learning and conversational UI (translation: chatbot, a Priority Inbox experience, and suggested actions to help you better manage email). Our goal is to help end information overload and help you focus on what’s most important.
Meet the team
This isn’t our first time creating communication products, but it is the first time we’re able to fully leverage artificial intelligence to improve how people and teams communicate. Our co-founders, Roland Schemers, Ross Dargahi, David Connelly, and I (Andy Pflaum), were co-founders and early members of Zimbra, the leading open-source email platform that was acquired by Yahoo in 2007. We reunited in 2015 because there’s still major room for improvement when communicating and collaborating at work, and we think artificial intelligence can help. We’re now a team of 12 (including leaders from LinkedIn, Google, and Asana), and recently closed an $8.3 million Series A from Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal, Aspect Ventures, and Upside Partnership.
AI will fix email
You may have seen headlines like “Email is Dying” or lamented the frustrations of email with your co-workers in recent years. But here’s the truth, email is still ubiquitous and essential. People are using email more than ever. According to analysts at The Radicati Group, business email usage continues to grow. Business users are expected to send and receive an average of 125 daily emails by next year. That contributes to the over 246 billion, with a “b”, emails expected to be sent per day.
Beyond the statistics, email is the central hub, it’s where all your data lives, and has lived for years. Calendar appointments, contacts, contracts, files, notifications, a history of past messages and decisions, it’s all in your email.
Rather than try to “kill email,” we’re taking a different approach with Astro. We want to kill information overload. We want to meet you where you work (not physically meet you, but we’re open to that to), and enhance how email helps you get your job done. By making email more intelligent and better connected to the other tools you use, we think you’ll start enjoying using email.
A modern, intelligent experience
We didn’t skip over any important details, because we want Astro to be the go-to tool for managing email. We built full-featured, simple to use email apps; you can start sending and receiving emails using your Gmail or Office 365 addresses in a couple minutes. We offer Priority Inbox, Snooze, Send Later, Swipes, Follow-up Reminders, Mute, Unsubscribe, customizable notifications, Mac Touch Bar support, multiple accounts and a unified inbox, and the list goes on.
But we’ve also built something new to email—an AI-powered chatbot focused on making sure you don’t miss anything important and helping you declutter your inbox. Astrobot pulls insights and suggested actions from your email within 30 seconds of syncing your account, and continues to help you manage email throughout each day.
These actions include unsubscribe from lists you never pay attention to, archive old messages, set up auto-foldering of emails you move manually, reminders about questions we detect from your emails, and reminders about emails that need your attention or a response.
No chatbot would be complete if you couldn’t ask it for help, so Astrobot is fully-prepared to help set personal reminders, manage your VIP list, and scan your team’s shared contacts, so that you can get an introduction to someone new. We could tell you more, but we encourage you to download our apps and try them out, Astrobot will meet you there.
We’re launching email apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad today, but that’s just the beginning of bringing AI to workplace communication. In a few weeks, we’re launching on Android. We’ll be rolling out support for additional email accounts, beyond Gmail and Office 365 soon. And, we’re connecting Astro, and Astrobot, to other tools you use. Up next is an Amazon Alexa integration.
We’re excited to tackle information overload, leverage our experiences building communication products, and apply artificial intelligence to tools you use everyday, starting with email.
Please let us know what you think, we’d love your help shaping the future of Astro. We’d also appreciate your support on Product Hunt, please upvote us if you’re excited about what we’re building.