Xobni - a good takeout candidate for Google, Skype?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · June 17, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/25f

When Bill Gates demo's your product in front of thousands and calls it the "next generation of social networking," you can't get much better than that as far as endorsements go. But that doesn't mean Xobni, which co-founder and CEO Matt Brazina calls a "socially-aware utility that lets you find information fast" in your Outlook email, is going to end up in the Microsoft empire, especially if Microsoft isn't going to pay up. "That's not something I can really comment on," said Matt, in an interview with me.

No matter, Xobni, which was founded in 2006, makes better sense with companies like Google or Skype, he said. Xobni competes with companies, such as ClearContext, Xenbe and Xoopit. (Click her for my interview/story on ClearContext).

"If you go and look at other companies, they’d love to have access to what I call information workers homepage, which is Microsoft Outlook," said Matt. For instance, if Google wanted to get its Google documents to the 500 million Outlook users, Xobni would be its entryway, he said. Or Xobni could be interesting to Skype if it wanted to have the millions of users use Skype right from their Outlook, he added.

"We want to be the API that Outlook never built," he said. Mac users, don't hold your breath. Xobni doesn't plan to be compatible anytime soon.

I haven't really tested out the service, but the screen shots suggest that it's a pretty effective tool.

In this shot, you can see the Xobni plug-in on the right. That box is basically a profile of the person you're communicating with (in this case Brian). In Brian's profile, you can see stats on frequency of exchanges with him. You can also schedule meetings, with your Outlook calendar notifying you which times and dates you're available. (That's useful!). You'll also note the section called: network. This shows which people were on the same email exchanges you had with Brian. And, finally you get a section with all the documents you received from Brian. 

My favorite part is the little search box in Brian's profile. In there you can search, say "Revenue forecast" or "Budget report" and only documents from Brian with those tags/titles will appear. 

I have no doubt that some company will snap this startup up. Matt seems definitely focused and determined to make a sale. But he's also made a pretty darn good standalone product in the meantime. He's automated profiles and social connections through email. Very clever.

It's no wonder he got the likes of Atomico Investments, Paul Buchheit, Ron Conway and Baseline Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Y Combinator to invest a combined $4-plus million in funding. 


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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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