Once upon 2011, Michael Bodekær and Michael Olsen, the two starting co-founders, brought their two minds together after discussions during an entrepreneurial event. It quickly became clear that there was imminent frustration with email, especially on the Windows OS platform.
At the time, Andrea Loubier worked for a software company in Ohio before meeting Michael & Michael. Little did she know, she’d be a key driver in taking Mailbird to new heights – a dream that would soon come to fruition.
Andrea and the two Michaels came together to build it from the ground up.
Mailbird launched on April 2, 2013. The timing was everything; the press pegged it, the “Sparrow for Windows”. They were onto something big and could feel it.
Today, Mailbird’s brilliant minds (the team) boast a fully flexible work/life balance. They are situated cross-continentally, as a fully remote organisation.
They recognise that individuals and businesses need an email management system that is easy to use, robust and reliable, to increase their productivity. So today, they continue to put people’s needs and well-being first when it comes to email management.
The grandiose vision? To enable people to have more freedom, all while their businesses thrive by keeping their communication workflow seamless. Now that’s what they call a healthy relationship with email.
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We talk to Michael Olsen, CEO of Mailbird, to get his take on the journey that’s spanned 10 years.
What have you learnt so far?
My background is in software development; I’ve learnt a lot of things since starting Mailbird. In the beginning, I poured my soul into the development of our email client, the product, not being involved in much else. Then, later on, as time passed, those responsibilities have grown to be more business-oriented, outside of just the development aspects. Marketing, growth, leadership, finance etc.
The biggest revelation was recognising that if you have a customer-centric product, there will always be users interested in it – despite competing with the likes of Microsoft Outlook. So don’t be discouraged by competition. In fact, the competition just means there’s a market out there. Use that to fuel your drive to succeed.
What challenges have you overcome? How have you responded during Covid?
One of the main challenges we’ve had to overcome is how to be efficient and structure things, being a fully remote-first company. This remains a work in progress, particularly as we’re expanding our operations.
However, one of the key learnings is to have the right tools to allow people to work in different time zones at various times on the same things.
When Covid hit, we didn’t experience a significant disruption to our way of working since our team already operated remotely (most from home).
What are your plans for growth?
Our main plans revolve around diversifying our product line (of course, all email related products). In addition, we’re aiming to expand into new markets – starting with the big highlight of the near future, Mailbird for Mac. I’ll tease that out, but we’re keeping our cards close to our chest regarding other product developments beyond that. Watch this space.