Newly Seeded Etacts (W10) Seeking Holy Grail Of The Unified Inbox

By Tomio Geron

With the proliferation of many new forms of social media and electronic communication, it’s getting increasingly difficult to manage all the inboxes.

There’s no shortage of companies offering to help. Start-ups such as Xobni Corp. organize email. Other services like Threadsy and Gist combine social media streams with email messages. Inc. and others handle this from a customer relationship management perspective.   

A new start-up, Etacts Inc., is attempting to unify all these messages into one place, focusing on people who have to stay in touch with contacts for their jobs.

“We’re focused on the highly monetizable millions of people -business development people, recruiters, real estate agents - anyone who needs to keep track of their relationships,” said Howie Liu, co-founder of Etacts.

Etacts, which completed the Y Combinator incubator program in March, has just closed a $700,000 seed round from prominent angels including Ron Conway’s SV Angel; Eric Hahn, former chief technology officer at Netscape; Joshua Schachter, founder of Delicious; Jim Young, co-founder of HotOrNot; Barney Pell and Lorenzo Thione, co-founders of Powerset; Jawed Karim, co-founder of Youtube; Ashton Kutcher, actor and now angel investor; Robby Walker and Wayne Crosby, former Y Combinator participants; and Irene Pedrazza, founder of CheetahMail.

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Etacts (W10) Makes Something Fred Wilson Wants

I love it when I write about something I need and some developer out there builds it. It happens all the time and it never ceases to amaze me.

This week it happened as a result of my email bankruptcy post. I wrote this in that post:

I have a list of about thirty people who I email with regularly and who are my most important email relationships. I use two web services, Gist and Etacts, to tell me who these people are. Both are useful. I then do gmail searches on their names and make sure that I have no unread and unarchived emails from them. It would be great if one or both of these services could auto-generate a gmail search on all thirty addresses for me. It would be even better if gmail had this feature built into the service.

The team at Etacts read the post and added the exact feature I wanted. I've got the Etacts browser plugin in Chrome and this is what my gmail sidebar looks like now.



Read the full post here.

Good work Evan and Howie!

PG Particpating in Panel at the Google I/O 2010 (5/19 @ 3pm)

Technology, innovation, computer science, & more: A VC panel

What do notable tech-minded VCs think about big trends happening today? In this session, you'll get to hear from and ask questions to a panel of well-respected investors, all of whom are programmers by trade. Albert Wenger, Chris Dixon, Dave McClure, Paul Graham, and Brad Feld will duke it out on a number of hot tech topics with Dick Costolo moderating.

Details available here:

Hope to see you there!

Former Microsoft Execs Lead $10 Million Round In Ruby On Rails Startup Heroku (W08)

Ruby Cloud Platform as a Service provider Heroku has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Ignition Partners with existing investors Redpoint Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and Harrison Metal Capital participating. John Connors, General Partner with Ignition and former CFO/CIO of Microsoft has joined the company’s board of directors. This brings the company’s total funding to over $13 million.

Read the full story here:

Way to go Heroku!

Picwing is Offering 2 Months Free in Honor of Mother's Day

Of all the startups Y Combinator has funded, Picwing is probably the one that has changed our lives the most. It's the perfect thing for parents with a new baby, because it's the easiest way to send prints of photos. All you have to do is tell Picwing where you want prints sent. Then as you take good photos you send them to Picwing, which sends a shipment every two weeks to all the people you've specified.

It's such an easy way to get prints that not only is this the main way we send photos to family, it's the main way we get them ourselves.

In honor of Mother's Day, Picwing is running a special promotion. You can try Picwing for 2 months for free. The plan includes 15 photos printed and mailed twice a month to your mom. No credit card is required to sign up; you provide your credit card information only if you decide to continue the service.

To get the special promotion, sign up through this link:

Most Moms like pictures, even if they're not yet pictures of grandchildren. So if you're looking for a last-minute Mother's Day present, this would be a good one.

Zencoder (W10) Wants To Be The Amazon Web Services Of Video Encoding

Transcoding videos, which changes the format, size and bit rate of a video file, is an arduous, yet necessary process for media content owners. Many sites outsource the transcoding technology to services like, which offer a SaaS application to format videos. Today, Y Combinator-backed Zencoder is entering the space, hoping to become the Amazon Web Services for encoding.

Full article on TechCrunch