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Contributor Columns on Information Technology and Security

String of New Investments Show why Email Technology is Not Dead

'Email is dead' is a popular proclamation that generates buzz and gives tech websites the much needed page-views. But a slew of new investments made by leading venture capitalists for start-ups built on email technology prove why these proclamations have been wrong.

'Email is dead' is a popular proclamation that generates buzz and gives tech websites the much needed page-views. But a slew of new investments made by leading venture capitalists for start-ups built on email technology prove why these proclamations have been wrong.

Last week, Agari announced that they have raised $15 million in a Series C funding that was led by Scale Venture Partners and also included existing investors like Battery Ventures, First Round Capital and Alloy Ventures. Agari is not the only email-based technology company that is seeing interest from investors. This week, another company, Front, announced a $3.1 million funding from SoftTech VC for their shared inbox service.

This is not to say that email is without its share of problems. The number of phishing emails sent by scammers to gullible email users is on the rise, the amount of clutter in an average inbox has never been higher. All these problems have contributed to the notion that email may soon give way to newer forms of communication. However, it is worth pointing out that the businesses that are seeing investor interest are those that are solving these specific pain points.

One of the oft-quoted issues with email is the problem of spam. We are not just talking about illegal spamming that has been effectively tackled by sophisticated spam filters; so much so that a Kaspersky Labs study recently found that more and more businesses are dropping their spammy mass-email strategies. However, in the absence of legitimate tools to address the issue with content personalization, the notion among email users that they receive a lot of junk mail would not go away.

However, there has been a lot of progress on that front as well. Recently, GetResponse, one of the leading email marketing companies announced a revamped autoresponder feature that would study user behavior and let the customer send out emails that are tuned to the recipients' interests. Similarly, from the recipient's side, email services like Gmail allow users to sort their messages so that marketing messages, that are neither spam nor personal, can be viewed separately in a 'Promotions' tab.

Businesses have finally come to realize the futility with mass-marketing. As more and more start-ups work on solving the problem areas of email, the value that users derive from the platform should only increase. As the investments show, email is far from being dead. Instead, it is growing like it has never before.

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