A new app released from digital start-up Fleep combines the fluidity of instant messaging with the ‘reply-all’ style of email. TBO spoke to founder and chief executive Henn Ruukel about starting a new app and building a brand.
Can you explain how Fleep works?
Fleep works like any text-messaging service, but with the twist that it can be included in a conversation with anyone by adding them with their email address. If that person is not a Fleep user, Fleep sends all messages to them as normal emails and their replies are converted back to Fleep as a conversation flow. In addition to sending text messages, users can share files and images, or put messages on their pin boards so they won’t get lost in the flow.
"We are living in a time of dynamic teams, and that means work gets done across different organisations. We are there to provide the tools that should support that."
Why did you form Fleep?
We left Skype and started building Fleep because we saw that we could create a tool that helps people collaborate better than the ones on the market. We saw that the existing tools were built for internal users of a system and fall short when work needs to get done. When people find themselves working across different organisations they give up and switch to email. We want to change that.
Is the marketplace not too crowded?
The text messaging market is quite crowded, but it’s a good thing and it’s a big market if you include email. You can’t win the whole market, but there will be several tools for different purposes. We want to be in the market that assists communication for work purposes and be able to offer a viable alternative to email.
What can Fleep offer that Yammer (competitors) or HipChat can’t?
The main difference is that they have built their product for their users’ internal use. You can send messages only to the people on the same media platform. When you need to include someone outside of this platform it can be very complicated, and you give up and switch to email.
Fleep is open in this sense: you can have a conversation with anyone from your platform or with people outside of it. We think we are living in a time of dynamic teams, and that means work gets done across different organisations. We are there to provide the tools that should support that.
Does the company have any patents?
We don’t have any patents at the moment.
Does Fleep have any registered trademarks?
No, not at the moment. We will probably need to register some in future, but we have not paid too much attention to this yet.
How do you promote your brand?
We are building our brand by creating a great product. If we succeed in doing this then users will take care of the rest.
What are the branding and business challenges for Fleep in the future?
Focus. Communication is a very wide market with different needs and expectations. We want to keep our focus on working with users and build the experiences that add value to their lives.
Have you had any problems protecting your brand?
No, not really.
Do you have any concerns with online fraudsters mimicking your app service?
We have not been the target of any fraudsters yet. This is something that happens when companies grow, so we definitely need to keep an eye on this as we develop.
How do you plan to prevent copyright infringement in the future?
We have no plans at the moment. It is too early to think about it right now.
How can your service help brand owners and businesses?
Fleep improves their communication with other users on different platforms. It keeps their workplace team in alignment with their goals and it will help to save their business time.
brand development, apps, Skype,