William Mougayar is somewhat of a commenting addict.The Canadian entrepreneur, who formerly worked for Hewlett Packard, loves to engage in conversations on blogs.
He isn’t a mean-spirited troll. He loves starting conversations and anxiously awaiting responses from other readers. Sometimes those conversations turn into real relationships, says Mougayar.
When you comment as much as Mougayar does, it becomes hard to keep up with discussions. So he came up with a tool to keep all of the conversations in one place, Engagio.
Mougayer is a long-time reader of Fred Wilson’s blog A VC and he reached out to the big-time investor with his idea.
“I called up Fred in early October,” says Mougayar. “He was completing my sentences.”
Wilson told Mougayar to build Engagio and make it look like Gmail for social conversations. Mougayar got to work; he reached out to Wilson from time to time for feedback. Fellow A VC commenters chimed in.
Four months after its inception Engagio launched; it looks just like an email inbox. Each user’s account is filled with their social notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, HackerNews, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Disqus.
Messages are only sent to a user’s Engagio inbox when they post something on a social network and someone else responds. For example, if you send out a tweet and someone replies, you’ll get a notification from Engagio. Other Twitter mentions will not show up.
Of course, not all commenters are nice. Many would rather hide from cruel messages than highlight them. Mougayar thought of that too — users can be blocked or “muted” in Engagio. Sites can be muted also.
When asked if people really want to manage more than one messy inbox, Mougayar replied, “The difference is you’re commenting because you want to, not because you have to. With email, you can’t ignore it. Commenting you can keep at your own pace.”
Mougayar has raised a $540,000 seed round for Engagio; Wilson was the first to invest. Wilson was joined by Rho Canada, Real Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Hashable cofounder Michael Yavonditte, and Extreme Venture Partners.
Here’s what Engagio looks like:
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