Email is a painfully out-of-date technology, but it’s not going anywhere. A new startup, Inbox, is launching its “next-generation email platform” as an alternative to aging protocols like IMAP and SMTP.
Before you email junkies get too excited, this is a platform play, so there’s no user-facing app just yet. The core of Inbox’s efforts is an Inbox Sync Engine for developers that adds a modern API on top of mail providers, including Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.com.
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The engine itself is open source, but Inbox is planning to release a hosted SaaS version of its platform later this year. In the meantime, developers can get started on building apps and clients with their own installations.
The Inbox team is comprised mostly of MIT alumni. CEO Michael Grinich worked as an engineer at Dropbox and a designer at Nest, while co-founder Christine Spang previously worked on the Linux kernel at Ksplice. The firm’s seed investors include Fuel Capital, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Data Collective, and Betaworks.
Inbox emerges just weeks after Gmail announced its own API. However, Inbox touts its own service as a better option because it is open source, supports multiple providers and is built by an “email company” rather than an “advertising company.” Zing.