Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

SendGrid CEO Isaac Saldana on Why Email Is Hardly Dead Yet (Video)

Of all the things pundits like to declare the death of, email is way up there. But the popularity of email delivery service SendGrid indicates that the medium isn’t dead yet.

SendGrid sends a hard-to-believe one billion emails per month.

Then again, my inbox does seem to be rather chock-full lately, whether it’s Groupon and Rue La La deals or various online retailers trying to lure me back for another sell.

And I’m constantly getting notifications that someone has friended me on Twitter, posted an answer on Quora, or uploaded a new picture to Path. Despite offering social media communications tools themselves, these companies obviously find it valuable to use email to retain customers.

That’s what SendGrid specializes in–with 20,000 clients such as Quora, Foursquare and Posterous using the company to ensure their emails get through spam filters and the like.

It turns out delivering lots of emails is actually quite challenging, and something companies would often rather outsource.

As for whether the death of email is impending, SendGrid co-founder and CEO Isaac Saldana said that just because younger folks use texting and social networks instead of email doesn’t mean their communication preferences won’t change when they have more complicated personal and professional lives as they age.

Email isn’t going anywhere, Saldana said, because “it is the primary identifier for any of us on the Internet.” It’s what we use to log into nearly everything–even the ubiquitous Facebook.

Without SendGrid, Saldana said, 20 percent of emails sent by Web apps don’t get through to recipients’ inboxes. (Not that his company is looking to spam people; it keeps careful track when users mark emails as undesired and makes sure not to send them to those people again.)

Saldana said his company is fending off the likes of big-scale competitors like Amazon because of its focus on deliverability, as well as its detailed analytics that can drill down to the level of a single user’s history of opening email or not.

SendGrid is not cheap, though– sending 50,000 emails per month will cost you $80 per month.

NetworkEffect recorded a video (embedded above) with the soft-spoken Saldana last week while he was in town for the Inbox Love conference.

SendGrid, which now has 30 employees, was part of the TechStars start-up accelerator program in Boulder, Co, and is backed with about $6 million in funding from investors including Foundry Group, Highway 12 Ventures, SoftTech VC, The Founders Fund and 500 Startups.

Saldana said the next step for SendGrid is to turn its service into a platform for all things email: for instance, an integration will convert speech to text and then call a phone or tweet based on what is written in an email.