There were several really great companies to come out of last year’s Y Combinator summer class. One of them is Xobni which launched yesterday at TechCrunch 40. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Adam and Matt, the two founders of Xobni, and they were kind enough to give Andrew and I a preview of Xobni’s outlook plug-in.

I am going to let Andrew tell you what he thinks himself. But it’s safe to say that we are both blown away. I realize that many of you don’t use Outlook anymore and have moved on to Gmail or some other better way to do mail.

But for those of us stuck in email hell in Outlook, Xobni is showing a way out. They start with the notion that your email usage is a social network, possibly the most accurate social network you have. Xobni looks at the way you use your email (who you message with, who you reply to, who you cc, etc) and it creates a social graph with that data.

Then it uses that social graph to make Outlook smarter.

Here’s a few ways it can instantly help you be more productive.

1 – it pulls phone numbers out of sig files and displays them when you are looking at a person’s email

2 – it knows who you haven’t been in touch with in a while and might want to shoot an email to

3 – it shows the email and document history for the person’s email you are looking at.

I’ve just started using Xobni and I love it. The service is now in private beta. Matt gave me 25 invites. So if you are in Outlook hell and need some help, send me an email (my email address is located on the left sidebar) and I’ll get you one. But first come, first serve. I only have 25.

UPDATE: I’ve run out of invites. In fact, I got 40 requests before I got to the office today. I am hoping to get more, but at this point I am out of invites.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Peter Cranstone

    Question… is this a service? Do I have to be connected to one of their servers when I run the software?

    1. obscurelyfamous

      Nope.Xobni rocks. If I wasn’t just testing it through Parallels, I’d be using it full-time. I can’t wait for a Mac version.

  2. Rahul Gupta

    Have you used the LinkedIn toolbar? This sounds like it shares a lot of functionality with that. LinkedIn is my social network of choice and I find the tie-in with my outlook to be a great step forward. I’d like to see if Xobni complements or conflicts with this functionality.

    1. Rahul Gupta

      Well, I probably should have done this before my earlier post, but I just checked out Xobni’s site, and now I’m *really* excited to get my hands on this. It looks like a great way to make my use of e-mail much more efficient — I particularly dig the attachment history.

    2. fredwilson

      linkedin crashes my outlook. i think its because i have a large mailbox file

      1. rahulgupta

        Hm. I guess LinkedIn should buy Xobni.

  3. Andrew Baisley

    I downloaded and installed Xobni yesterday (note: I didn’t need an invite… just went to the site). I love it. After using it for just one day it’s become nearly irreplaceable. In my opinion, anything that works this well, is this easy to use and fills such a huge need… well, it’s good in my book. I can’t wait for the Gmail version.

  4. davidu

    Fred,I’m surprised. Regardless of how large the market share of Outlook is, and it’s huge, history has been crystal clear about what happens to companies who try to deeply integrate with Microsoft products. They either get locked out, or much of their functionality replicated in a future version by MS. It’s the typical MS “Embrace, extend and extinguish” strategy. I wish Xobni the best of luck, but history is not on their side.

    1. Breck

      I was also very impressed with Xobni. I think I may go back to Outlook after 3 years of Gmail just to try it out. I particularly like the idea of how it shows you graphs of your message history with a person.

    2. fredwilson

      well lookout is an example of where MSFT bought instead of built

  5. kenberger

    I have a few invites as well. My contact info is findable on my website (click on my name).

  6. Matt Brezina

    Fred,Thanks for the very kind post. The response has been truly amazing. Just to clarify, we did a 12 hour early beta period yesterday for people following TechCrunch40 conference. We are now in invite-only beta. We have a very small team and we need to limit the install base to handle feedback and still have time to iterate on the product. We will be rolling out more invites soon. If you are interested, sign-up at http://www.xobni.com/downloadCheers,MattXobni Founder

  7. fkur69

    I played with it and the functionnalities are cool – think business intelligence for inbox management and as someone says here this is something that MSFT could add later to Outlook (iot would make sense). For the moment it’s a very interesting data-driven take on email management which is a real issue for many people. I do suffer from email overflow and the issue I have had so far with the beta version of Xobni is that it has not been able to cope with the size of my inbox, hence slowing down dramatically the speed of use of Outlook and the PC. I have had to remove it but look forward to playing with a more advanced verion.

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve got the same issues.but it’s early beta (invite only) so I am hoping and expecting they’ll get the speed issues figured outmy outlook mailbox file is 8.5 gigs, the largest our tech consultant has ever seen.i am cringing as i write this question, but how large is yours?fred

      1. fkur69

        wow 8.5 gigs! our IT guy has managed to force me to cut it in 2 from 2.5G to 1.2G (excluding archives on the server) and I had the issues i mentioned above. It says something about Outlook becoming the defacto filing system for many of us. Automatic and intuitive filing is another pb to solve. Frederic

  8. daivd hyman

    didn’t you say social graphs should be called social networks?

    1. fredwilson

      i did but then i was educated in the comments that social graph is a technical term and why it’s the right term.i am often wrong with my posts, but when i am, i get educated.fred

  9. Giordano

    Any plans for a Thunderbird version yet?

  10. Mary Branscombe

    fkur – for so easy it’s actually creepy filing in look check out SpeedFiler – http://www.claritude.com

  11. Youps

    <img src=”http://www.xobni.com/images/banners/formyinbox.gif” alt=”Xobni outlook add-in for your inbox” border=”0″>