3 min read Andrew Wyatt receives 300 to 400 emails per day. Some are from investors and partners of CALA, the digital fashion branding platform he cofounded. Others are from potential customers. He doesn’t want to miss important notes but can’t spend all day searching for them. “I tried every Gmail hack trying to get to inbox zero,” he says. “No matter what, it was a big mess.”
That’s why Wyatt was willing to spend a whopping $30 per month on a solution: It’s called Superhuman, a new and much-hyped email app that has raised $33 million in funding. And it’s not alone; Superhuman is joined by a crop of new email apps, all vying to be the go-to solution for entrepreneurs with untamed inboxes.
Related: Improve Your Productivity With Inbox Zero
“These new email apps tend to allow for a better blend of capabilities, like social network integration, and can improve individual workflow,” says technology analyst Rob Enderle. “Not all of these are ideal for all people, but this trend suggests you can likely find one better for you.”
Superhuman makes for an interesting case study. At $30 a month, it’s like buying a Lamborghini when you can get a Toyota Corolla (called Gmail) for free. But it’s made for people who have a problem worth paying to solve. Artificial intelligence highlights the most important emails; messages from different kinds of people (investors, customers, friends) are routed to “split inboxes”; keyboard shortcuts process messages at lightning speeds; a “Snippets” feature enables users to send elaborate canned messages; and there’s more.
“Entrepreneurs are in a very unique position: The rate at which we respond to email sets the bar for our entire organization. The faster you go, the faster everybody will go,” says Rahul Vohra, Superhuman’s founder. He wants the app to improve entrepreneurs’ “flow state” — helping them focus on emails that matter most.
Related: 6 Quick Tips for Cleaning an Out-of-Control Inbox
After trying out Superhuman myself, I can appreciate what Vohra means. The interface is exceptionally clean, with no distractions. On the iPhone version, I found it much faster to swipe away emails and search for old ones — helping email become a tool, not just a task. The key commands are eminently useful; hitting 0, for example, toggles to my calendar.
These are the reasons Wyatt is happy to keep paying; he now feels liberated from the slog of email. After our call, I promise to send him a follow-up message. “I know I’ll get it, because I already have you marked as important,” he jokes. A new status system is born.
Cost: $99 per year
Hey (created by Basecamp) emphasizes receiving over sending. You pick who can email you and where their emails go, and everything else is ignored. Hey for Work is coming next, to host business domain emails.
Cost: $1 per month per user for the lite version
One of the best options for hosted business emails using your domain, Zoho is strong on compliance, security, and reliability. You can comment and tag emails, à la your Twitter feed.
Twobird uses your existing Gmail account. The “two birds” are email and notes, which are all integrated into the app for collaboration purposes.