Plum Mail (YC S20) – Email alternative for group conversations

Hello HN! Plum Mail ( is a messaging app that gives you better conversation features than email and instant messengers. These features help make conversations more useful and easier to get value from.

Today we're launching Plum Mail in early access. You can join our Wait List to be one of the early users by emailing [email protected].

Email is disorganised, instant messaging is distracting and group chats are hard to keep track of. But email is great, because everyone has an email address. Why can’t we build an awesome messaging platform that lets us keep our email addresses? Our insight: keep the email address but replace the emails with something better.

The first thing we want to fix is group conversations. Conversations between three or more people in email get messy quickly. We can solve that with the ability to break off-topic messages out into sub-threads or the ability to conclude a thread. We’re working on the ability to highlight text and pin it to a noticeboard so important pieces of information don’t get lost in high message volume.

To help solve the issue of distraction created by platforms such as Slack, we’re introducing features like inbox delay, group chat message rate limits, and a complete lack of notification noises. Our design philosophy is respect and simplicity. We do not want to nudge you to check your inbox with things like red dots or read receipts.

We are also offering greater control over adding and removing people from conversation threads. Here’s a demo video showing some of this in action:

Peter and I started Plum Mail because we had these problems with email and IM ourselves. Group chats quickly get out of hand. We find it really hard to organise our annual ski trips with friends in Whatsapp. Half our mates just want to share hilarious GIFs that smother the conversation we’re trying to have about dates or hotels or ski hire. I love a funny GIF as much as the next guy so we probably just need to think about where the funny GIFs live and where the details about our hotel reservations live. i.e, not on top of each other.

We also have 12 months' experience working exclusively on passwordless authentication technologies in our company We realised that the marriage of passwordless authentication with a common messaging platform could be a happy one.

Our vision for Plum Mail is to position it alongside other premium inbox products on the market to people that care about new features enabling them to have great quality conversations online. However, Plum Mail will remain open and accessible to all at some level so that users can enjoy the freedom of writing to anyone (whether they’re a user or not) whilst enjoying the clear benefits of messaging inside a common system instead of over email protocol.

We would love to hear your thoughts. In particular, what do you dislike about either email or instant messaging? Anything goes! This feels to us like an opportunity to re-imagine how communication online can work.

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov