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Contur
Location: 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California, United States United States
Founded in: 2011
Stage: Alpha (prototype)
Number of employees: 1-5
Funding history:
- Date: 05/2012, Seed: undisclosed amount (post valuation: undisclosed amount).
Investors: Howard Marks, paul kessler
Investment Firms: Start Engine
Short URL: vator.co/contur
Followers (48)
Testimonials

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.

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Contur

Virtual Assistant for Email
Startup/business
Los Angeles, California, United States United States
http://contur.co
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Company description

Contur Main

 

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.


Team
  • Herry Lian
    Herry Lian | Founder
    I believe in progress, and want to be at the forefront of innovation, and shape the way our future generations will live and interact with each other.
  • Justyna Wojcik
    Justyna Wojcik | Team member
    Justyna architected several core technologies of the Microsoft SQL Azure cloud service. Before that, she was a technical team lead at Motorola, and created her own software company.
  • Bruno Denuit
    Bruno Denuit | Team member
    Bruno has worked for over ten years on database technologies and cloud services at Microsoft. He also architected web-based trading platforms for several investment banks.
Business model

Traction

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.

Business Model

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.

Product Design

 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. 

Competitive Advantages

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. 


Competitive advantage

 

 

Investors
Howard Marks
co-founder Activision, CEO Acclaim Games, Managing Partner of StartEngine.
paul kessler
Co-Chair of Start Engine & Principal and Founder of Bristol Capital Advisors, LLC. Mr. Kessler has extensive experience in all aspects of financing emerging growth public/private companies.
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StartEngine (www.StartEngine.com) is a rapid accelerator focused on helping Los Angeles-based technology startups build a solid foundation for success in 90 days.  Created by Howard Marks, co-founder of Activision, and Paul Kessler, one of th...