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Does email still have a future?

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Photo credit:

Dennis Skley

Email is still ubiquitous within business communication but will that remain the case?

For every company, success is the result of strong communications with its customers.

With email communication as the backbone for most businesses’ outreach, companies cannot really afford to lose out at the hands of email delivery.

This is where Sendgrid steps in.

The Colorado based start-up is essentially a trustworthy platform which creates a simple and easy email infrastructure for businesses.

Hot Topics speaks to CEO, Sameer Dholakia, to learn more about the innovative start-up which is working alongside some of the biggest businesses in the world.

Hot Topics: What was the inspiration for Sendgrid?

Sameer Dholakia: Back in 2009 our co-founders had worked on a few different start-ups and they realized that the emails that were being generated by the applications often require you to have a login and a web service.

They often ask for your email address – for the purpose of confirming your identity and being able to send you automated emails.

They learned that the emails that the applications were sending weren’t making it into the inbox of their end users.

So they really started to learn a lot more about these email delivery problems and, as a result, started Sendgrid back in 2009 as part of the Techstars incubator program.

They were running into the email delivery problem themselves as developers building an application.

So by solving that particular problem, the developers felt they found many others around the world building applications who had the exact same problem, and as a result, was the growth of Sendgrid.

HT: Would you ever move away from email communication and into other channels?

SD: We often joke our name is not Sendgrid but Sendemail, basically because what we are good at is providing a large scale messaging platform, we send over 18 billion emails per month to tens of thousands of clients.

In terms of a messaging platform in this day and age where we move into a mobile-centric cloud world, so we wouldn’t be serving our customers if we weren’t helping them with communication channels.

We still believe that email communication is the most ubiquitous of the messaging platforms but today we have many consumers regularly engaging with other communications on other channels such as sms or text notifications.

So, we have a vision in the product route map that takes us into those worlds to help our customers with messaging.

HT: In an ever changing technological environment, how do you advise the client on alternative communication channels?

SD: I think from our perspective we believe it will be a multi-channel world in the future in terms of communication vehicles and so we are building products today which will help our client such as Uber or Spotify.

For example, if they wanted to send a push message or an SMS, and the consumer doesn’t respond to that, they can fall back to email message.

So we are building a very sophisticated infrastructure which will allow customers to take advantage of numerous channels and we absolutely believe that our customers will expand on multiple channels and Sendgrid will be able to help them with that.

HT: How does the cloud enable Sendgrid to operate more efficiently?

SD: Sendgrid is an email cloud-based platform itself. It really has enabled Sendgrid’s growth in a way which would not have been possible have we been an on premise software.

So what we provide is a cloud based server. We offer developers of next generation applications an API that they can plug into their websites or mobile apps, and that’s all they have to worry about – anything else after that is paid for depending on how many emails they send.

The software aligns well with a developer who doesn’t want the trouble of the line infrastructure or the intricacy of the email process, so they outsource that activity to Sendgrid, which prior to the invention of cloud, would have been very difficult.

A significant number of our customers who are using Sendgrid are using it for other cloud based or mobile applications delivering from the cloud.

A platform shift from the other client server architecture to the mobile, cloud world has been a great tailwind behind Sendgrid’s business.

HT: What are the future plans for Sendgrid?

At the moment we are planning an expansion of our business.

We want to expand from not only our core transactional email communication, but other channels like enabling our clients to use SMS providers like Twilio underneath favorite applications, so we are building new marketing products which will fit on top of SendGrid’s transactional email infrastructure but also underneath communication vehicles.

We are spending a lot of time building these marketing applications and that will be a big part of our growth.