This Week In Startups #867 Rahul Vohra, founder of Superhuman

  • What did Rahul do before Superhuman? Rahul sold Rapportive to LinkedIn. From start to sale in 20 months. (1:06)

  • What is Superhuman? The fastest email experience ever made. Our customers get through their inbox about twice as fast as before. (2:04)

  • Rapportive was a browser extension that added functionality to Gmail. If someone emailed you that you didn’t know, Rapportive would tell you where they were located, what they do, links to their social media profiles, etc.. (3:52)

  • Why should you pay for superhuman? Your time is worth more than $30 a month. (22:05)

  • Gmail (G Suite) is $60 a year per person. Superhuman is $360 a year per person. How do you get people to make that decision? We identified a very underserved segment. Gmail is for mass-market consumers. Superhuman is aimed to the top few percents of email users. These people receive hundreds a day. They send 50+ a day. These people want to be remarkably fast. (36:06)

  • Superhuman’s marketing strategy: A huge waiting list of 70,000. The list started in 2014. What worked well for us was capitalizing on timely news moments. Like Mailbox getting shuttered by Dropbox. I published an article about failed email acquisitions. It went viral. That drove 10k to 15k signups. (50:40) 

  • Why is your onboarding so arduous? This was created by a recognition of past failure of other productivity apps. They’d get a bunch of people signed up and almost all of those users churn out. . .Now we have a team of 5 or 6 on-boarding specialists. The new onboarding sessions take about 30 minutes. Each onboarding specialist can close 50 customers a week. Which is an incredibly efficient business? (54:12)

  • What Rahul believes the best companies [of the future] will do: I’m pretty confident that’s what some of the biggest companies will do: take the best practices from what the top 5% do and rolling those features out across the rest of the user base. We look at what our users are doing. Extract some best practices and then have the system teach those back to the other users. That is a really interesting way forward for the whole enterprise SAAS space. (1:07:50)

  • When will superhuman open to anyone without a waiting list? You're assuming with that question that it’s the right thing to do. I’m not convinced it’s the right thing to do. We only want people who are super serious about becoming better at what they do. (1:10:50)

  • Full podcast here.