By Ajay Vashee with support from Somesh Dash, Jason Kong, and James Black
Everybody Loves Email, Right?
Like many, I spend hours every day in my email. Email is fundamental to how we communicate. But if you ask people about their inboxes, nobody says they spark joy. More often, we reflect on email as a necessary evil, a flawed experience, and a source of anxiety.
The consumerization of IT empowered knowledge workers to choose tools like Dropbox and Zoom. Slow and cumbersome VPNs transformed into convenient cloud storage. It used to be a nightmare to join video calls without IT, but today we do so often and easily. However, this trend has been conspicuously absent from email. Gmail and Outlook — legacy solutions that your employer chooses for you — have been the only options. Over the last two decades, productivity software improved leaps and bounds. Yet over that same period, email barely changed…until Superhuman.
Getting Through Email Twice as Fast Sparks User Joy
With Superhuman, you get through your inbox twice as fast as before. You reply to important email sooner. You can even achieve Inbox Zero for the first time in years. Led by CEO Rahul Vohra, Superhuman obsessed over their customers and created an engine for product-market fit. The result? A 10x better email experience.
When I was CFO at Dropbox, our mission was to design a more enlightened way of working. We all swore by our mission, and we relentlessly executed towards it. Similarly, Superhuman exists to help you become happier, more productive, and closer to achieving your potential. The entire company lives by this credo, and it’s both palpable and incredibly compelling.
Superhuman has fundamentally changed how I manage email, and significantly increased my overall productivity. Countless employees at our portfolio companies are die-hard Superhuman users, as is much of the IVP team. We use the product every day, and can’t imagine life without it. Based on the Superhuman Wall of Love, we aren’t alone!
The best companies impact entire industries, and Superhuman is no exception. The company has created a movement. Today, there are dozens of “Superhuman for X” startups. Rahul and his team have advanced the state of startup art and are inspiring the next wave of entrepreneurs to follow.
When I joined IVP in January, Rahul was one of the first founders I began spending time with. Superhuman had long been on our radar given the brand halo and the reputation of the product. However, investing is just as much about the people behind the products. During my first meeting with Rahul, his passion and mission-driven focus were apparent. His goal, every day, is to help you become brilliant at what you do.
Over the past few months, I learned that Rahul is a unique visionary — one that takes a differentiated and powerfully principled approach to building and scaling product. He’s also a serial entrepreneur on a perpetual journey of iteration and self-improvement. In addition to his leadership on product-market fit, he popularized using game design to build business software, and demonstrated how concierge onboarding improves retention while creating evangelists.
Since their last round in 2019, Rahul has built a world-class executive team across sales, marketing, product, and engineering. He’s also dramatically scaled the company’s operations and go-to-market footprint. Superhuman is quickly growing from an amazing product into an amazing company, in the early innings of everything it will achieve.
Partnering for the Journey Ahead
It’s clear to me that Superhuman is a special company with a bold vision for the future of work, fundamentally re-thinking how individuals and teams should collaborate. The company is poised to grow its platform over the coming quarters and years — beyond Gmail to Outlook, beyond individuals to teams, and beyond email to new modes of communication. Rahul and I have spent many evenings together brainstorming ways to navigate this kind of expansion.
During my time at Dropbox, we pioneered bottom-up adoption in SaaS, and we leveraged that to build a powerful multiplayer experience as well as a new go-to-market motion. We made cross-platform support a competitive differentiator, and we created the best customer experience in our category. We both built and acquired multiple products, and we used these to extend into new markets. Superhuman is on an exciting journey with compelling parallels, and we couldn’t be more excited to lead their Series C financing and partner with Rahul and his team.
Ajay Vashee , Somesh Dash, Jason Kong, and James Black are investors at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.