StartEngine has invested in Contur because of an extraordinary team of talented technologist and business people. They are solving a deep technology problem that touches nearly every busy professional in the entire world: email overload.
E-mail overload is a monumental issue. The Contur team is exceptionally talented, committed, and passionate about solving this problem. They have both depth in technology as well business development.
We are creating a virtual assistant for email. Our semantic algorithms scan all incoming emails and determine whether those emails fits into existing labels, task lists, and projects. There’s no need for the user to set up any rules; Contur infers how the user wants the emails organized based on metrics like the title, sender, and content of the email.
The interface also has an integrated to do list, and the user can turn any email into a task with a meaningful title, deadline, and reminder. With a dedicated space to keep track of the user's tasks, projects, follow ups and meeting, the user will be able to stay on top of everything.
Overall, the interface and technology is designed to help the user stay organized, and save him hours every week.
Justyna Wojcik - Former Microsoft & Motorola Software Developer. M.S. in Computer Science. CEO of Contur.
Justyna created and sold a solution for scheduling medical procedures that reduced hundreds of hours of manual work into one click action. Later, she worked both as team lead and developer for major software companies like Motorola and Microsoft.
Bruno Denuit - Former Microsoft Senior Software Developer for 11 years. M.S. Computer Science from University of Washington. CTO of Contur
Bruno worked for over ten years as a developer and architect on database technologies at Microsoft, on SQL Server. When Cloud Services started to emerge, he moved to the newly formed SQL Azure team with the daunting mission of converting SQL Server into a cloud-based service. With his expertise building highly scalable and robust services, he is perfectly positioned to lead the development on the Contur platform.
Herry Lian - B.S. Management Science & Engineering from Stanford. Startup Bus Competition Finalist. COO of Contur
Herry started his own business at the age of 18 that became profitable in year one (marksmenacademy.com). He realized that many of the students in his high school are going to be first generation college students, so he set up an college application coaching business. Herry gathered financial success and allowed many of his students to get into Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, and other top 25 schools.
Within the first week, we already had 500 signups, and are on track to hit 5000 this month; that's even before we released the beta. Our alpha users love that all their emails are organized. We have been able to save them 5-6 hours a week so far. We plan to release our beta on September 18th.
As for how we are going to monetize, we are giving the user the software for 30 days to try, after which the user will have to pay a monthly subscription fee to continue using Contur. Our Cost to Acquire Customers (CAC) is approximately $20 ($100,000 to acquire 5000 paying users). We’re going to do A/B testing with the monthly fee ranging from $5 – 20.
If we take $10 to be the sweet spot, our gross margin would be 0.9 ($1 to have one customer on our server per month), and we predict our churn rate to be 10%. Our Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) would come out to be $90, which is 4.5 times our current CAC.
There are doubts of whether an email client can profit in a space where most clients are free, but the email overload problem has gotten so prevalent email startups have been able to monetize their solutions. For example, Sanebox charges about $5 per months simply for organizing your inbox, with a 30% conversion rate, and Active Inbox has 30,000 paying customers for their product.
In a year, we should be able to break even, and be in good position to scale with a Series A investment.
Go To Market Strategy
Our two distribution channels will be Product Design and Word of Mouth.
Users connect to their friends, colleagues, and partners through email already, and we hope to bring the user's network to Contur through this phenomenon. We plan to implement features like being able to share worksbenches, or send tasks to non-users. That way, the non-user is made aware of Contur, and will probably naturally inquire why the user is using it. The user can then encourage their friend to use it, thereby generating us leads. This is a model that dropbox has successfully implemented, and we hope to emulate them.
Word of Mouth
On the Word of Mouth side, we would incentivize the user to share Contur by offering a year’s worth credit to both accounts if one of their friends signs up.
1) Time Saver
Gmail and Outlook are the most widely used email clients because of their simplicity and functionality. However, users who get 50 or more emails find that they spend up to 8 hours a week organizing their emails. Their growing inbox also makes it hard to keep track of their tasks, follow ups, and meetings.
With Contur, whether you get 10, or 1000 emails, all your emails will stay organized. Our automatic organizer will scan all incoming emails and help the user sort them into existing labels, to do lists, or projects.
2) Patentable Technology
We will file several patents for our semantic search technology. Through those patents we'll raise barriers to entry in this semantic organizing space, and be poised for acquisition offers later on.
3) Strategic Partnerships
We are currently bringing on partners like the Mayor's Council on Innovation and Technology of Los Angeles on board to help us scale. We're also looking for potential distribution partners like ReturnPath to help us grow quickly.