Mailtrack is Chrome Web Store’s Number 1 email tracking extension for Gmail. Millions of people globally, from sales professionals to jobseekers, use Mailtrack’s intuitive, non-intrusive tools to boost their productivity and the impact of their communications. Previously named among “Europe’s hottest startups” by Forbes, described as an “indispensable tool” by Business and featured in the NYTimes, Inc.com and more. In this interview, Mailtrack CEO Eduardo Manchón reveals the story behind the company and his views on the future of email innovation.
Please describe your background before founding Mailtrack. What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?
I’m a psychologist specializing in human-computer interaction. I started my career as a usability consultant. For the past 20 years I’ve been helping organizations through the transition to digital, online banking, etc. Little by little, I began to discover the world of startups and started collaborating with one, called Loquo, that was later acquired by eBay. It was a clone of Craigslist for Barcelona, founded by a friend of mine who had experience in Silicon Valley and introduced me to the startup world. This was in 2002-03. We created a startup garage setting with the server in the living room. We were the first website in Spain to use AdSense as a revenue model. Suddenly eBay made an offer, so eventually I decided, together with another friend, to create our own startup, Panoramio, which was acquired by Google in less than 2 years.
We had to work for Google for 3 years, and then I took some time off during 2009-2010. I was thinking about coming back to the startup world and joining a project. Another friend of mine had offered me to join him. This friend was a very famous Spanish entrepreneur who already had three companies, including the largest job board in Spain. At first I was just an advisor, but I’m the kind of advisor that gets involved. A short time after I started collaborating with him, he offered me more responsibility. I was a product manager, then CPO, then co-CEO, and then he left the company and I became the sole CEO of the company. I joined the company as a full-time employee in 2015. At the time, we were making about 10,000 euros per month. 5 years later, we are now making almost 300,000 euros per month.
Here’s a quick preview of what Mailtrack is all about:
How do you manage to maintain a free service for so many users?
We offer a single free solution that includes the Mailtrack signature in every email. You can remove the signature manually for each email you send and it’s still free, but if you want to remove the signature for good, you need to upgrade.
We have 5 million signups in total, and about 1.4 million active users, which currently have the app installed and working. We also have 65,000 paying customers, half of which are from the US.
What are some typical use cases for Mailtrack Pro?
Mailtrack’s success is mainly attributed to its flexibility and multi-purposeness. We have all kinds of users who send emails and need to know if their emails have been opened.
Mailtrack Pro also gives you history tracking, with reminders that tell you if your email has been opened in the last 24 hours or not, and notifications if your email hasn’t been very active. It also has notifications when your email has been re-opened after a long time, as well as insights about your emails, links clicked, etc. Put simply, Mailtrack notifies you whenever something relevant happens.
The user of our product would typically be a professional user in different scenarios. It could be an administrator sending bills, sales-people sending quotes or teams that need to collaborate on important, time-dependent projects, so there’s a bunch of different use cases. Mailtrack is not only focused on sales but on every project where knowing if the recipient has seen your email is important, so it’s a multipurpose feature. The reason for our popularity is we are very minimalistic, we don’t change much in Gmail and we don’t interfere with your processes.
Can Mailtrack notifications be considered as legal proof of receipt?
Not automatically, because Mailtrack itself doesn’t certificate that. But in practical terms, depending on the country, you may ask us to provide a certification that may or may not be sufficient as court evidence. Of course, this isn’t an automatic process as it depends on the laws of the country you’re in.
How is the current Covid-19 crisis affecting your industry?
It’s a big uncertainty. I will not say I have a conclusion as everything is still developing and changing by the day. So far, there are more people working remotely from home, which means more emails, which means more need for email tracking. From this perspective, it should not be a problem for Mailtrack.
However, I don’t think this explanation is perfect in practical terms because at the end of the day, you use Mailtrack to sell things that now cannot be sold because of the crisis. For instance, the tourism industry is totally broken, so I’m not sure if the need for email tracking will compensate for the downfall of other industries. So far, our figures have not been impacted, but there’s no clear benefit either. We are getting the same amount of new customers, and at the moment, no news is good news.
How do you envision the future of your industry?
I see greater use of corporate communication tools, where you get fewer messages, but you only get the important ones.
Although email remains the main tool for important communication with clients, we have not seen a lot of innovation around email clients recently. What we have seen is accelerated mobile pages (AMP) that will make email more dynamic by executing code inside the email. Google already made steps in this direction where emails will be like a web page you can interact with. It will change everything, primarily, the purpose for which email is used.
Right now, your inbox is like the old physical mailbox, you get letters and that’s it. But if an email is like a brochure, you can see content, you can compose, manipulate and interact. If the email is more like a website, it means you can track everything that happens inside it, and know exactly where users have clicked and why. There is a whole world of opportunities that we don’t even know of. Altogether, I see a very bright future for email innovation and I believe we will soon start to see the changes.