Email has been around for more than two decades, and yet we’re still struggling to figure out how to best manage it. Our inbox is cluttered, we miss important emails, and we just can’t seem to get rid of that annoying spam.
And while some mere mortals are able to achieve email nirvana, a.k.a. “inbox zero,” on their own, a new service called Unroll.Me is here for the rest of us.
Unroll.Me will weed out all of your unwanted newsletters and combine your desired emails into one aggregated email so that your inbox isn’t constantly cluttered with subscriptions, allowing you to focus your time and energy on more important communications.
When you sign up for Unroll.Me, the site scans your inbox in about two minutes and curates a list of everything you have subscribed to. You can then unsubscribe from as many emails as you like simply by clicking a button. And from the leftover subscriptions you’re actually interested in, you can add them to your “Rollup,” which combines all of the newsletters’ information into one email to declutter your inbox.
The idea for Unroll.Me actually arose when cofounders Jojo Hedaya and Josh Rosenwald were emailing back and forth, trying to come up with different projects they could work on together. The two met while studying in Yeshiva in Israel.
“We were the only two people with international BlackBerries,” Hedaya told Business Insider.
Hedaya and Rosenwald worked together on another startup that created online sports content, but after it failed, they were emailing back and forth trying to come up with their next big project.
“We were emailing back and forth ideas, and [Rosenwald] would never answer my emails,” Hedaya said. “His excuse was that they were getting caught in the millions of newsletters he had.”
A lightbulb went off, and the two immediately got working on creating a solution for inbox overload.
In 2012, Hedaya and Rosenwald came out with their first alpha product. By 2013, they were out of beta with their current solution. Now, they’re a team of nine working out of the shared workspace WeWork. And as of this morning, Unroll.Me has passed a million users, saving them a total of 323,387,573,040 seconds of checking their emails.
Unroll.Me has also stopped more than 5 billion emails from hitting its users inboxes.
According to the company, the average user has about 240 subscriptions, but by using the Rollup feature and deleting unwanted subscriptions, these users are saving themselves from having to deal with the individual emails on a daily basis.
According to Hedaya, Unroll.Me’s biggest competitor is actually Gmail — especially with its new promotions tab and the addition of an unsubscribe button to individual emails. But Hedaya isn’t too worried about the competition.
First of all, Gmail’s new features don’t really work cross-platform. For instance, it doesn’t translate to the default iPhone mailbox app. The other thing that Gmail has yet to tackle is listing all of a user’s subscriptions in one central location. According to Hedaya, users really appreciate being able to see that comprehensive list and then unsubscribe directly from the page.
“Most of our growth has happened after Gmail released all of their new products, so it hasn’t been hurting us so far. But we’re ready for the challenge,” Hedaya said.
The other benefit Unroll.Me has going for it (and not going for Google’s goliath email service) is that the company is small and nimble. Hedaya, Rosenwald and their team are constantly working on new ideas.
Right now, Unroll.Me is putting together a mobile app, and they’re also working to partner directly with subscription providers. The idea is that they’d provide data on unsubscriptions to give providers a better idea of what their users are looking for.
The startup is also looking into other ways to improve the inbox, thinking about ways to create a notification center to help you find the important emails at the right time and place. Sort of like Apple’s Reminders or Passbook apps, but for email.
In the meantime, Unroll.Me is just trying to make its users lives simpler.
“Nobody is opening emails anymore because everyone’s so overwhelmed by emails,” Hedaya said. “It started that email was just peer to peer, then it started between you and brands sending you newsletters, now you’re getting your receipts from Amazon there, and you’re getting your ticket confirmation there, and you’re getting emails from your boss, and emails from your mother and your sister, so it became this crazy place where you’re getting so many different things from so many different people. People are using email as their to-do lists, as their calendars. So it’s super complex on such an old system that people have been trying to change email for so long.
“We want to solve the main issue, email overload, super simple, take five minutes right now and save yourself 20 in the next week.”