June.ai raises $1.5 million for AI-powered email management

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Let’s face it: email inboxes are unwieldy. For the average person, reading and replying to messages takes up about half the workday — as much as two and a half hours. Worse, workers spend about 17 hours per week addressing emails that aren’t urgent, and about 4.5 hours a week searching for old messages attachments.

June.ai aims to minimize ill-spent time with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). The two-year-old startup today announced a $1.5 million pre-seed funding round led by a group of investors that includes John Suh, CEO of LegalZoom, and Marc Michel, a partner at Runaway Venture Partners.

June.ai will use the capital to expand its 10-person team, cofounder and CEO Allie Sutton said.

“To put it simply, we are rethinking and streamlining how we communicate and gather information digitally,” Sutton said. “There has been no impactful innovation with email in recent history and users are either complacent or frustrated,” Sutton said. “June is not about making email better, but rather focused on building a completely new platform that will change how we experience digital communication.”

June.ai’s platform consists of several discrete tools, or “hubs,” that perform autonomous tasks like organizing messages, surfacing attachments, and highlighting important conversations. One lets you quickly approve, unsubscribe, or block companies and people, and two others — files and favorites — put front and center recently shared documents and frequently contacted colleagues, respectively.

Emails within June.ai’s mobile and web client are separated into distinct buckets: Conversations and Feeds. The former is organized by contact and designed to mimic the look and feel of a chat app, while the latter automatically categorizes and reorganizes non-conversational messages in a format that’s easier to follow. It’s a supercharged take on Gmail’s categories and tabs feature; emails are automatically sorted into one-tap categories like Trips, Finance, Social, News, Purchases, Notifications, Promotions, and Calendar.

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June.ai isn’t the first to attempt the email problem with machine intelligence. Slack earlier this year acquired Astro, a client that boasted a chatbot that made recommendations — like offering to archive recurring emails that you frequently ignore, for example, or reminding you to follow up with specific contacts — informed by your behavior, and enabled universal search across email, calendars, and Slack conversations.

But June.ai’s AI-forward approach helps it stand out from the crowd, Suh said.

“Not only am I excited about advising the June.ai team as they execute their vision, but I’m thrilled about June from a personal standpoint,” Suh said. “June is a completely new and enjoyable way of organizing communication — the platform not only gives me control over who contacts me, but sorts through all of the noise and allows me to focus on what’s important.”

June.ai supports Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook inboxes, and launches today in private beta.

Source: VentureBeat

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