Driven by the need for a more efficient way to manage her emails while still staying productive and with a background in software and technology, Andrea Loubier decided to take matters into her own hands and create an email management tool that would meet her unique requirements.
Andrea Loubier has been recognized as one of the top female entrepreneurs in South East Asia and has been building and growing Mailbird for over 5 years now.
We asked her a few questions to get to know her a bit better and find out more about her experiences and lessons as a female entrepreneur.
What did you eat for breakfast?
A spinach omelet with toasted sourdough rye bread and lots of butter, and a cappuccino of course. I’m a total coffee addict.
What’s your workout?
I change it up each week to keep it interesting but I’ll do a mix of running, walking, group fitness classes, yoga, surfing, functional training and high-intensity training about 3 – 4 times per week.
Tell us about your work. What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
From the moment I set up my first email account to my first professional career out of college, email management has always been a struggle, especially while trying to stay productive at work or focused at school. It’s a daily necessity and the best invention ever made for communication but after trying different email management tools, software, and clients on different platforms, I believed I could do better. Through a mutual friend I was introduced to my co-founders and one of them had an idea to build a clean, simple and fast email client for Windows where the market was most underserved. So we built it, excited about the millions of people and billions of email accounts that could be managed through Mailbird. Today Mailbird has transformed and innovated to become the best way to manage all your email inboxes in one place alongside your productivity apps. Today we are building Mailbird for businesses and bringing it to mobile platforms for even greater reach.
What do you see for your future?
With online communication, we continue to look at speed and intuitive ways to help us process, manage and take action with communication. The future will be in AI, decentralization, security and machine learning to the extent where Mailbird will be the go-to app across all operating systems and devices for streamlining email management alongside tasks.
How large is your business? How many employees do you have?
Mailbird consists of 14 brilliant minds that span across the world. We operate with a distributed team, whilst meeting with our team members throughout the year. Mailbird is a U.S. company with a registered address in Palo Alto, California. We’re located where all the greatest tech innovations happen but we still have our foot in the door all over the world as we build a global business.
Tell us a success story about funding your business.
We were very proactive at networking events like tech conferences and leveraged our team’s networks to meet as many investors as possible. We had a solid business model that worked and had reached profitability early on. We were ready to scale so we started tapping into the investor and VC relations we had built over time, knowing at some point we would want to raise funds to grow Mailbird faster than ever. We closed two smaller rounds via angel investments and continue to grow in preparation for closing our next Series A round for world domination!
What do you see as challenges for you and your business? What are some opportunities?
Our challenges are finding resources that we can scale faster and localization teams that can help us get into specific markets that have different demands and requirements when it comes to email software. Our opportunities lie in the fact that we are extremely agile, we test fast, fail fast, learn fast and iterate fast. We have a lot of passionate users who stand by our side and a product that is sharp, ensuring the best user experience. No one else has been able to master unification in the way that we have.
Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame?
Our public launch of Mailbird couldn’t have been any better and was exactly what I imagined it would be. After months of building, planning, and prep, on the day that Mailbird was available to the entire world we had the whole team together celebrating and watching the website, support tickets, downloads and sales roll in. In that time, unlike any other celebration, we were silent, focused on the launch, measuring the traffic, responses, and engagement online. We were featured on one major tech blog after another. My cell phone rang and it was TechCrunch who wanted to interview me about Mailbird. It was epic. I still remember the first dollar we made from selling a Mailbird Pro license. So that was a success. One mistake was properly preparing and planning for a localized launch when we launched Mailbird in China. We realized we really needed a native person in that region who specialized in marketing and product launches in order to connect with the potential Chinese users of Mailbird. We needed the right channels, not what we were already using to acquire new users. We learned a lot from it and are applying what we learned from those mistakes in future localized launches in different regions all over the world.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love that I get to build a very healthy company and business around one of the best communication technologies ever invented in this world. I love that I get the opportunity to lead, learn and meet some of the most inspirational people in the world. I love that I get to create and be an example for more women who are afraid of or considering entering STEM fields or any form of entrepreneurship, especially in tech. I love that I get to share the growth of a business with my amazing and dedicated team all over the world, essentially building a solution for people and other businesses around the world to help them address email inbox clutter while staying productive. I love that I am constantly presented with both challenges and learning opportunities that build my character, perseverance a, d experience as an entrepreneur. I love that I get to make peoples’ lives more awesome and successful with Mailbird. That’s really cool.
What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
Mailbird makes the stressful job of managing emails everyday so much easier because of simple productivity features that cut away time and unify all those critical accounts using one beautiful tool. I value my solution to simplify our crazy lives and Mailbird delivers this by unifying online communications with the best user experience.
What would you say is your “entrepreneurial superpower?”
I’m great with people and I’m detail oriented. Developing and growing my business has been a success because I’m great with people. I love to listen and learn from many and also execute things with detail to deliver the best experience.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
Sophia Amoruso because I just read her book Girl Boss and was very inspired by how she went from nothing to building an Ebay empire. She learned to leverage her strengths, be scrappy, dedicate herself to her brand/image, learned and executed through her ability to network and was committed to details.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur, as a woman?
The best thing is that you get to build amazing things and break the stereotypes and status quos of what women have long been boxed into, to inspire other women to do amazing things, to leverage technology, to be bold and gritty and to ignore those who make you feel that you cannot do something. The worst thing is always feeling like you need to over compensate or prove yourself or crawl out of a hole that the male dominated business/entrepreneurial/tech world has subtly dug you into. You have to be relentless and share your store more than your male counterparts.
Do you think male entrepreneurs are “different” from female entrepreneurs, and if so, how? If not, why not?
They are not different in that they both have the ability to come up with an idea and learn, execute, iterate and grow that idea into a profitable and successful business. Both have the potential to fail. Women are different in the sense they are more in tune with the consumer or business. We can put our feelings and empathy into a business, which compliments and accompanies the cut throat side business. We are nurturers and carry that as a strength and opportunity in all our business relations and we are strong in that we never give up. We can better relate to the majority of consumers which happen to be women.
What the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
The best advice I ever got was from Ben Horowitz in his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. His quote to “Embrace the struggle” in reference to never giving up and how the persistence and relentlessness (and capital in the form of investment or business revenue) of a single entrepreneur or finely crafted brilliant tech startup team are what separates those businesses that fail from those that succeed. Another lesson from an investor and former founder from Silicon Valley was that conflict within an organization is the key to succeeding in business because it encourages discussions that lead to solving problems within our world that can then be delivered through your business as an entrepreneur.