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Hey guys! Startup Radius interviewed Spike – a quite interesting startup that may look like a good alternative to Slack, if not a Slack killer. Spike is a brilliant mix of email + team collaboration + chats + productivity tool. How awesome is that? If you don’t want to waste time on switching between different tools and finally optimize your teamwork with just a single app – Spike is here to help.

Learn how they grew to tens of thousands users (and keep growing 30% month-over-month, wow!), why they target SMBs/micro businesses/freelancers, and how they compete with such giant as Slack. Enjoy and read below!

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Spike?

Spike is the world’s first conversational email app.

We’re upgrading the way you work, saving you and your team time, sanity, and a lot of headaches.

At Spike, our goal is simple – to bring all of your communication (your emails, chats, calls, team collaborations, voice notes, everything) to one place. It’s what your team has been looking for in a productivity and messaging app, but easier, and all from your inbox.

Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) and is available on iOS, Android, Mac, Win & Web! This gives you a single, unified, and fully functioning platform for all your & your team’s tasks.

Welcome to the shortest path to done ✔️

spike email productivity app

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or a money-making idea?

It’s been bothering us for years. Email, invented over 50 years ago, is still the world’s most popular form of communication. (And hasn’t changed much since). Yet, how is it that we still choose to spend so much time on something so dated?

Spike was born because it was time to do what regular email has been trying to do for years: make email conversational, real-time and better for people.

As entrepreneurs, innovators, freelancers, small business owners, CEOs, and employees, we have millions of wasted productivity hours between us. We created Spike knowing that we need: to waste less time jumping between tons of productivity apps and to stop wasting so much time searching for, downloading, attaching and sending files.

We created something that we needed, so we could keep doing what we love and love the way we do it. We can’t control the workload, but we can make it easier, more effective, efficient, and fun, and even gain some time back to spend on the other things we love.

Time for bragging! How big is Spike – traffic, users, anything else?

We’ve got tens of thousands users and thousands of business who have all come to Spike organically and through the network effect. We’re growing by 30% each month with outstanding stickiness and retention.

Our users understand the tremendous benefits of conversational email and they keep inviting their colleagues and friends to join them on Spike, so thanks to them, our community continues growing.

Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?

In the communications space, competition is very broad. However, we’re unique in our approach to communication. We truly believe that modern communication should be conversational. We may be using machines to communicate, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t sound like real people who are having a natural conversation.

The communication landscape is constantly changing, with many companies being acquired and many others sadly shutting down. But we’re not alone in wanting to optimize outdated email communication:

Slack: Hands Down, a great messaging app with really useful integrations. They’ve done a great job at making themselves into a verb.

Platforms like Slack or any other social apps/ services are all closed Silos that require the users to install, adapt and use their platform (meaning: both of us need Slack in order to communicate).

Spark has a large market share in the email app sphere. Although they have built a great product we don’t view them as direct competition since their interface is still based on older and conventional email layouts.

Superhuman is also a new and impressive contender that has a lot of hype around it. Their product is sleek and they’ve got some pretty cool features, emphasizing speed and keyboard shortcuts, which they do well. They’ve positioned themselves to the 1% of the high-end email users who are willing to shell out big bucks for the service.

With the changes in the email and communication landscape mentioned above (such as Astro closing, Gmail deactivating Inbox) we see a tremendous amount of users looking for a better solution for their email and Spike caters to anyone who wants a better email experience.

Spike email chat productivity app

Who uses Spike? What is your perfect buyer persona?

We target micro businesses, freelancers and SMBs who need an efficient and modern communication tool to help them save time while growing their businesses. Instead of looking for an external solution and yet another integration, we allow them to leverage their existing email and digital identity, and get everything they need in a communication and productivity too that’s built-in to their inbox.

We cater to anyone who is looking for a better email experience.

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

Email is an open protocol, meaning anyone can use it, and basically everyone has an email account, if not 3 (you probably have a personal account, a junk account and a work account).

Spike helps people with both their internal and external communication and collaboration. So our product inherently creates a network effect. Our users are our ambassadors – they use Spike and invite their friends and colleagues to collaborate with them.

Spike is building the world’s largest open communication community.

Spike app interface

What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?

Email technology is based on very old protocols. The challenge is building a new product that is clean, sleek, super fast and still gives you everything you need from traditional emailing. We took the things we love from email and messenger, stripped away the clutter, and used new technology to combine them with modern tools that we need. We were able to create a communication and productivity tool that saves us tons of time every day, and all on a single platform.

If you could give marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

Always talk to your users. Never stop talking to your users.

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

Co-marketing, affiliation and distribution partnerships.

Is Spike a revenue-generating product? If so, why did you choose the current monetization method?

We wish we could offer Spike for free, forever, but our accountants won’t let us. Apparently  servers, developers, marketers and the coffee that fuels us cost money 🤦.

Spike works on the freemium model and the offering is very simple.

For any personal account (such as you@gmail.com) is free and you can connect as many as you want. Each business account (such as you@yourbusiness.com) is $5.99 per month when subscribed annually.

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?

  • Spike We’re efficiency and communication freaks. We don’t need to use any other messenger apps or collaboration tools because we have everything we need built-in.
  • Google Analytics – To know the ins and outs of your traffic.
  • G suite (Google Drive and Docs) – Sharing docs can’t get any easier than this and Drive syncs seamlessly with Spike and lets you attach any file crazy fast.
  • Amplitude – To know what’s going on behind the scenes.
  • VWO – Such a cool tool. You can see exactly how people engage with your website and you can run some pretty cool A/B tests.
  • Nespresso It’s the fuel that keeps us going 🙂
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