Indy talent bringing order to the chaos of digital life with Gusto app

Tired of searching through your email for those pictures you sent last month? Or perhaps you need an original version of that contract a client emailed to you.

Freshly launched Gusto has an iPhone app that not only lets you attach files to emails (finally), but also assembles every file, photo or email you’ve ever sent from all of your accounts into a visibly simpler, easily searchable, unified inbox.

Founder Shawn Schwegman, formerly of ChaCha and Overstock.com, and the all-star Indianapolis talent he recruited to build Gusto are convinced their new app will calm the chaos of digital life.

“Today’s mobile consumer manages multiple email accounts, uploads hundreds of photos across different social networks, and logs in to various cloud storage services to save dozens of important documents,” Schwegman said. “Gusto brings order to the chaos of your digital life in much the same way that Google brings order to the world’s vast online repositories of information.”

By combining mobile email with built-in cloud storage, Gusto addresses three key pain points for mobile users.

  1. Attach Files in Emails
    Gusto enables users to (finally) attached files to emails you send on the go. Gusto saves all files and photos you’ve ever sent or received, automatically, across all your email accounts, so you don’t have to.
  2. Powerful Search
    With Gusto, you can quickly find the exact file, photo, or email you’re looking for.  Easily search and filter by keyword, person, file type, account, date, and so much more.
  3. Find and Share
    Dozens of your photos are trapped in your emails. Gusto finds your photos and saves them in one place so you can share them while you’re on the go or save them somewhere else.

The outlook for a startup improving mobile productivity like Gusto received a huge boost less than 90 days ago when email opened first on a mobile device eclipsed traditional desktop/laptop opens (Litmus).

The free Gusto app will be available for download in the Apple iTunes Store next month. For release updates and more information about Gusto, visit http://www.gustoemail.com/, like Gusto on Facebook and follow Gusto on Twitter and +1 Gusto on Google+.

The Pivot

Before zeroing in on improving mobile email and becoming what it is today, Gusto started out as an alternative to email altogether. Sendgine, the original company name, was focused on “changing email” into a concept that Schwegman described as Basecamp meets Gmail on steroids. The idea was to organize users’ digital lives by train of thought.

“The problem with that strategy is twofold,” said Schwegman. “First, The Art of War by Sun Tzu dictates that you do not attack a fortified city head on, and Basecamp is a fortified city. Secondly, users don’t want to hear that you are ‘changing email.’ We all may hate it, but we also can’t live without it, and whether we want to admit it or not, email makes us feel important. So, don’t change email by introducing yet another communication platform. The average user already has too many. Now, if you tell me that you are going to improve email, especially on mobile … well, now you have my attention.”

Gusto was born when the company pivoted from creating a whole new communication platform to the much narrower focus of improving email productivity. When you think about it, people waste an incredible amount of time bouncing back and forth between different apps and services, and searching for things that all basically live in the same place. By bringing those digital assets together into the same inbox and making file attachments possible with mobile email, Gusto solves a problem every mobile user experiences at least once a day.

There may be a lot more coming from Gusto in the future. The mobile app to improve email and productivity is the focus now, but Gusto’s mission is to improve digital organization for the world, on mobile, desktop and the web.

The Team & Partners

According to TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier, Gusto is leading a charge of consumer-facing startups launching in Indianapolis.

“We have had quite a streak of enterprise, business-to-business software company successes over the past few years in companies like ExactTarget, Interactive Intelligence and Aprimo,” said Langellier. “What the Gusto team has done is effectively attract experienced talent from such companies to boldly build and launch the kind of consumer application that rivals our coastal counterparts. This is exactly the kind of talent circulation, bold risk-taking and startup community support that we want to see.”

In total, the Gusto team has more than 90 years of development experience and the board of managers includes:

  • Kent Hawryluk (Co-founder & Chairman)
  • Colin Mathews (Co-founder & CTO)
  • Jeff Goens (Co-founder & COO)
  • Gerald Longa (board member)

Like many entrepreneurs, Schwegman believes you learn more from your failures than from your successes. That’s why he set out to hire the most experienced team he could find by tapping into the talent from the very best partners and vendors in the city.

“I firmly believe that brand and culture are the two most important things to the success of a company,” Schwegman said. We’ve created what I think is the best culture that I’ve ever been a part of. It’s a culture of over achievers — nobody ever says ‘we can’t do that;’ we always find a way to get it done. We’ve built that culture because every member of our team is working toward the same goal, and because each of us has equity in the company, we all stand to gain from its success.”

The biggest lesson Schwegman and his team have learned through launching Gusto is that there is nothing more valuable than solid relationships and partnerships.

“Indianapolis has built an incredible ecosystem of entrepreneurs and innovators who openly collaborate with one another so ‘the next big thing’ has the best chance to succeed. So we partner with the best talent and partners in the city, including ProfyleTracker, Dittoe Public Relations, KA+A and Ice Miller among others. The investments we’ve made in those partnerships have already paid dividends.”

 


 
Raising the profile of Indiana startup companies through stories like this is made possible by Tailwind, a TechPoint initiative powered by the Indiana Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349