The other day, I received an email asking me to confirm some of my contact information. The email stated “Some of your contacts use WriteThat.Name, a new service that updates address books based on the linguistic analysis of email signatures.” What first caught my eye was the dot NAME tld. But really, what a unique concept. I reached out to the creator to learn more.
Philippe Laval founded Kwaga two years ago with a simple idea in mind: help email users truly benefit from business data that is nested in the messages they receive. To do so, he leverage the experience he had in semantic technologies and actually strengthen it with a team of NLP (natural language processing) experts who have been enthusiastic about the idea. They are now 10 people strong, fully dedicated to making email the productivity tool it once used to be!
Mike: Tell me about your service, WriteThat.Name. What is it and how can it help people?
Philippe: Well, WriteThat.Name is a perfect illustration of my goal: it keeps your address book up-to-date automagically! Basically we recognize the signatures in the email you receive, and either we create the contact when it isn’t in your address book or we update the existing one – with a new mobile number, for instance.
We launched WriteThat.Name mid-May and have already created/updated over 100K contacts for our users! Talk about saving time…
Mike: What is your experience with the .Name tld? Why did you choose this over a .com?
Philippe: There was a great debate over what we should name this service, but finally landed upon WriteThat.Name because it instantly describes what it does – writes the name and contact information to your address book. Nevertheless, we do have WriteThatName.com registered as well.
Mike: Have you or your company owned any other domain names? How important do you feel the domain name WriteThat.Name is to your service?
Philippe: As a web-based company, our domain is as essential as the window display is to a shop along the street. This is the first thing that our customers experience, so we took great care in deciding on the perfect one.
Being a French-based company, we have registered WriteThatName.fr as well as the .com and .name domains. We also have both Kwaga.com and Kwaga.fr.
Mike: WriteThat.Name takes a good feature of Gmail, adding contacts automatically, and makes it even better. Where did the idea for this come from?
Philippe: I got tired of searching in my mail account for the number to call from the car every time I was late. I thought there must be a way to automate this, and, voila, WriteThat.Name was born…
Mike: Tell me about your revenue model. It looks like this is a pay service. Did you consider selling some form of advertising as opposed to charging users?
Philippe: WriteThatName costs only $3/month or $20/year for each subscribed email address. The first month’s subscription is free. And $20 seems really low compared to the time spent searching for the right contact info! Compare this to the price of a virtual assistant: for $20 you can have a virtual assistant for one hour OR WriteThat.Name for a full year.
We opted to forgo the route of selling advertisement as our detection system looks through your messages to find contact details and link them to a signature. We want you to be confident in our respect for your privacy. However, if you still think it’s too expensive, we also have a referal program where we’ll give you another full month free for every referral that signs-up to WriteThat.Name.
Mike: Kwaga is the parent of WriteThat.Name. What is Kwaga and what’s the company’s goal?
Philippe: Kwaga was founded in 2008 by me (founder and former CEO of Sinequa, an enterprise semantic search engine vendor) along with a team of seasoned software entrepreneurs, backed up by top computational linguistics and development talent. Kwaga has created KwagaContext for Google Apps Email that enriches the Email experience by providing more context about senders: social profiles, previous conversations and smart action-reminders. Kwaga is a privately held company. SeedCamp and Kima Ventures are both shareholders and have provided seed-funding.
Mike: Are there any other problems you’re focusing on that we may see a new service for in the future?
Philippe: At Kwaga, we are looking for new ways to enable people to continue working inside their preferred e-mail application and benefit from SmarterEmails™ without altering their habits. We are currently working on some extensions of WriteThat.name and will soon get back to you on that! In the meantime, please take a moment to check out our videos and screenshots to learn more about what we can do for you!