Category: 4 Digital E-conomy By : Yessar Rosendar Read : 1267 Date : Friday, February 19, 2016 - 08:16:02

    Courtesy of Mailbird

    A residential area of Gianyar, Bali, may be the home of the next big thing in email. On the second floor of a house overlooking a tranquil rice field is the office of Mailbird, a startup that makes a Windows-based email system. Despite being based in Bali, Mailbird is sold over the Internet to a global market, with the current user base of 500,000, up 25 fold from its launch in 2012 with just 20,000 users. Currently Mailbird is available in 17 languages and as a freemium product, by subscription, or as a one-time purchase.

    Mailbird has garnered many positive reviews for its ease of use, intuitive features and streamlined design that are an improvement over traditional email systems such as Microsoft’s Outlook. In March 2015, Mailbird launched version 2.0, with new features such as email snooze, allowing a user to “snooze” an email so it will reappear (so you can deal with that important email later). Another popular feature is being able to manage several email accounts in one system. The new version also offer video meetings and integration with Facebook and WhatsApp. Mailbird, however, only supports Windows, and doesn’t yet have Android or iOS versions.

    The startup’s origins are also unusual. Mailbird was created by two Danish serial entrepreneurs Michael Bodekaer and Michael Olsen, who were  inspired by Sparrow, an email system for Mac OS that was acquired by Google in 2012 for a reported $25 million. “We were looking at the Mac platform and compared it to the Windows platform. We just saw that there was nothing like Mailbird,” says the company’s chief executive Andrea Loubier, who is half American and half Filipina, and who had spent time in Indonesia then went to the U.S. and returned here, joining Mailbird. “I always wanted to come back to Indonesia, I also wanted to start my own business and start it from nothing,” Andrea says.

    Now Mailbird is growing its global presence and getting traction in Asia, including launching the product in China. “It’s a good learning experience for us, because you have to do a complete cultural analysis to launch in China, it’s so different than in the U.S.,” Andrea says. Currently roughly half the customers come from the U.S. Next the company is eyeing growth in Europe with Germany and Denmark already good markets. Despite being based in Bali, the number of Indonesian users remains small, Andrea admits.