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Keeping up to date with your email inbox can be one of the most challenging aspects in your work. Think of how much time you spend to keep your inbox clean, or the messages that get shuffled or missed. A clean inbox takes consistency, time, and effort.

Sparrow is taking aim at the big players in email.

In late September, we noticed an email application being used by our audience that we had not heard of before.

The email application we noticed is named Sparrow. Most interesting was that we first noticed Sparrow in September as being used by 3.9% of our audience.

Two months later in November, Sparrow is used by 9% of our audience at Ongig.

What is the reason for the growth of Sparrow? We did some homework, and reached out to Sparrow Founder Dom Leca to find out.

The Demise Of Outlook

While we noticed Sparrow climbing the charts in email client usage, we also noticed the absence of a former email stalwart…Microsoft Outlook. In fact, Outlook did not even register on our most recent activity report.

It is important to note that Ongig’s audience is composed primarily of tech industry employees in San Francisco. That can certainly play a factor in what email client is being used.  However, it is still a surprise to see that Outlook was not even registering a percentage point on Ongig.

Microsoft Outlook is nowhere to be found on this chart, while Sparrow keeps climbing the charts.

It’s clear that Outlook has been passed by iOS and Gmail. It’s also clear that Sparrow and Android have also supplanted Outlook as they look to challenge iOS and Gmail.

How High Will Sparrow Fly?

The first thing I notice as I look at the Sparrow website and communicate with Founder Dom Leca is that they refer to email as mail. Interesting departure from the norm.

Sparrow is based in Paris, and was started exactly one year ago. The main goal for the company is “to make mail more pleasurable and empower our users to be as efficient as possible”. This means trying to deliver a fast and simple experience that gets the job done.

Sparrow aims to personalize your mail through Facebook integration.

Dom told us that 60%-70% of Sparrow’s current user base is in the United States. While they plan to keep operations in Paris for now, the United States is a definite target for building their business.

Dom also said that Sparrow currently has a user base with “30% engineers, 30% designers, and a lot of university teachers”. This seemed to match up well as Ongig’s audience is comprised largely by engineers and designers.

Sparrow advertises an easy integration through Facebook Connect, and all the power of Gmail through their mail application. They also have Dave Morin (co-inventor of Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform) on-board as an advisor. This may help explain the growing interest from the tech community in the Bay Area.

The next evolution for Sparrow will be “to get some widely spread use cases into mail habits like CloudApp or DropBox (coming in 1.5)”. It seems they are working on ways to make mail lightweight, fast, and simple.

We can see that Apple and Google are also hard at work on mail issues. The results are clear in the reports we see from our users each day.

What do you suppose Microsoft is up to?




Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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