“Email has not changed in over three decades. Both email and web started during the early 90s. The early web pages on Yahoo or AOL were just some local text and some links. But since then the web has evolved and matured, but the first email you ever got is unlikely to be very different from the latest email in your inbox.”
For Aquibur Rahman, cofounder of marketing SaaS platform Mailmodo, this lack of development on the email front seemed like a ripe opportunity. Even in 2019, when Rahman was a marketing consultant, after his stint as the marketing head for Clear (formerly ClearTax), emails were largely the same as they were in the mid-90s.
“That’s when I came across AMP emails and I believed that this would be the future of all email marketing. My inclination was towards marketing SaaS because of how Indian SaaS companies had scaled up with customers abroad. Plus my natural interest was towards marketing, so I wanted to do something which involved both,” Rahman told Inc42.
Founded by IIT graduates Aquibur Rahman, Apurv Gupta and Devyesh Tandon in 2020, Bengaluru-based Mailmodo has announced its $2 Mn funding round led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge accelerator, Y Combinator part of the Summer 2021 batch and existing investors. The startup plans to use the funds raised to target new customers in Southeast Asia, Latin America and other markets where ecommerce and other online services are seeing bright adoption.
Mailmodo Targets Startups For AMP Emails
Mailmodo calls itself a no-code email marketing platform, and according to Rahman, new-age edtech companies, D2C brands and other online service providers do not want the headache of creating such app-like experiences within an email. Mailmodo offers them a drag-and-drop composer like Mailchimp or other platforms and lets them set up integrations to their internal APIs more seamlessly.
Rahman claimed that on average, customers see 3x higher conversions from their Mailmodo email campaigns compared to their older emails. It currently boasts of clients such as Razorpay, ClearTax, HelloDoc, Flexiloans, Orchid International School, Nestaway, Livspace, Whatfix, Hackerearth, Onsitego and others in the Indian market, and the focus going forward will be on ecommerce and D2C brands as well as edtech companies that are currently gaining traction in India. “We saw a massive 250% increase in responses to our NPS survey emails. Our merchants loved the email as it enabled them to share their thoughts with us without even getting redirected once.” according to Razorpay associate product manager Subhash Dash.
Some of the typical use-cases involve emails for cart abandonment for ecommerce platforms, who can enable the checkout process within the email itself. This is particularly useful for D2C brands, Rahman said. In terms of other use-cases, companies are sending feedback surveys, review forms, polls and more through emails. The feature set for AMP emails is endless, Rahman added, since it is essentially web in the form of email. Anything that is possible on the web can be integrated into Mailmodo, he claimed.
The idea is to help businesses improve the conversion rate in their campaigns and maximise the returns on investment for email marketing, which is a crucial part of the marketing operations for digital-first businesses. According to Statista, over 300 Bn emails are sent every day, but for email marketers, the real proof of the pudding is in the clicks and conversion rates of such emails.
AMP email is an open-source technology created by Google that allows email marketers to embed the interactive elements like polls, confirmation buttons, purchase buttons and more into their emails, which would let recipients take action without needing to open the website or click through the links. The idea is to reduce failed email marketing efforts and ensure that user activity is immediately captured. Naturally, this makes things far easier for businesses that use email marketing.
The problem with email marketing has so far been that emails are either ignored or deleted, or opened and then forgotten because of the usually lengthy process after clicking through. “The user journey from inboxes to websites or landing pages results in low conversion. The primary objective of Mailmodo is to reduce the user journey and allow completion within the email itself,” the cofounder added.
Recipients can fill forms and submit them from their inbox, complete the checkout of products that they may have abandoned in the ecommerce cart, set appointments for service providers and complete reviews of products. Rahman claims Mailmodo leads to three times higher conversion rate than regular email campaigns. Besides bulk email campaigns that can be drafted, scheduled on Mailmodo, the SaaS platform also enables businesses to send automated, trigger-based emails which aids in seamless user journeys , which are particularly useful for subscription products and more.
Email Marketing Coming Of Age In India
With the rise of internet businesses, email marketing is a massive opportunity for companies in India and abroad. Expanding at a healthy CAGR of 19.60% between 2017 and 2025, the email marketing market is likely to touch $22.16 Bn by the end of 2025, according to Transparency Market. Asia Pacific is the leading market in terms of adoption and growth, with a CAGR of 22.80% between 2017 and 2025. Besides China, the proliferation of the online retail industry and D2C ecommerce brands in India is likely to boost the prospects of email marketing software substantially.
In terms of competition, Mailmodo competes with giants such as Mailchimp, Breeze in the overall email marketing space, but Rahman claims that in terms of the actual AMP functionality with end-to-end email marketing management is not provided by any of the competition, not just in India but anywhere in the world. The competitive moat for Mailmodo, according to Rahman, is that none of these competitors have focussed only on AMP and none offer a no-code functionality for managing AMP email campaigns. This immediately puts the competition at a disadvantage despite their larger scale and presence across markets.
“There are tools like Stripo, Dyspatch.io and others that help you create AMP emails or tools that help you send such emails, but nothing that manages it end-to-end, and we even provide analytics for these AMP emails, which is again not offered by anyone.”
Since being selected for Sequoia Surge and Y Combinator, the company has seen a lot of customers this month (July), including global customers and self-serve customers. The accelerators have helped the startup gain more exposure and companies that were not aware of Mailmodo are showing interest due to word-of-mouth referrals. Mailmodo is now looking to work with global companies in Europe, South America, Southeast Asia where it has seen interest in the past few weeks. But the primary focus is on startups as managing large enterprise clients would require a lot more resources. “The current focus is to make a world-class product. We are building calculators, quizzes and other engagement touchpoints for internet companies, so that we can build an ecosystem of interactive email apps, which marketers can use.”