Going into beta Tuesday, Israeli startup RedKix announced it has raised a staggering $17 million in seed funding from a number of investors for a platform that is supposed to streamline team communications on top of their existing email accounts.
“I know, I know. We live in a world where every other day a new email or team messaging app pops up claiming to solve all your problems (and fails to do so),” a blog post on the company’s website concedes. “But let me assure you, we’re not just another one of those apps.”
That remains to be seen as they have yet to begin beta testing. But the bets that their investors are placing are substantial. These include Salesforce Ventures, Wicklow Capital, SG VC, angel Oren Zeev, VMware investor Ori Sasson, Mercury CEO Amnon Landan, .net creator Yuval Neeman, entrepreneur Oren Dobronsky and Lookout founder Kevin Mahaffey.
The objective is to create something that looks like an integrated email and messenger system to users. If a recipient is not using RedKix, they will see a regular email. You can sign in using virtually any email account that you have. Things like getting rid of in-line responses and tiered email chains are the smaller priorities, though they claim those are already a done deal as they enter beta.
RedKix users get advantages that messaging app users have, such as seeing if a correspondent is in the process of typing or is online, indicators that someone has read a message, and the like. Like Slack channels, there are “subject-less” chats. Despite playing up that one member of a team can be using RedKix with no deficiency to another coworker’s email should they not be using the platform, the startup is targeting enterprise customers.
The next big challenge will be making RedKix malleable to integrations with other platforms as Slack has made itself.
They also have major competition. Estonia-based Fleep emerged from beta in March. That company, founded by former Skype site operator Henn Ruukel, told Geektime earlier this year that they aim to create a single inbox for all emails. Their entire team deliberately does all communications through their own platform to constantly be up on what would be the next big way to improve the app. Israel-based Workgroup also tries to clear the clutter of email chains by integrating group productivity into one free-flowing chat.
The two-year-old company founded by Roy Antebi and Oudi Antebi has 27 employees, mainly in Israel but also with an office in San Mateo, California.