Unified Inbox, a Singapore-based social communication and collaboration platform, today announced that it has acquired Boston-based social networking application company SocialGrow for an undisclosed amount. SocialGrow’s Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder Ken Herron will join Unified Inbox as the Head of Marketing.
The key components of SocialGrow — an application that makes it easier for organisations and individuals to better connect with the people they know on different social networks — will be integrated into Unified Inbox’s product offerings.
“SocialGrow gives us the opportunity to further unify your communications, including collecting and managing contacts from your in- and outboxes. Integrating SocialGrow showcases how we are using unified communications as a platform to encourage developers to create apps that will allow customers to fully customise their inboxes — pixel by pixel if they so choose — to meet their specific needs and preferences,” said Toby Ruckert, CEO, Unified Inbox.
“Besides the smart technology that we’re integrating, I’m also very excited to have Ken joining our team to drive Unified Inbox further towards public availability,” he added.
Herron will spearhead Unified Inbox’s global marketing efforts as the company readies its first commercial launches and prepares for global availability in 2015.
With SocialGrow, Unified Inbox acts like an assistant for its users by intelligently suggesting to them to add those people to their social media networks with whom they exchange emails anyway, thus quickly growing the users’ reach across different communication channels.
In the past, whoever wanted to use SocialGrow had to first create an account and then connect their different social media accounts to SocialGrow for it to work. Now, users who use Unified Inbox anyway to read and respond to their messages from different communication channels, will be able to choose networks they want to keep track of. SocialGrow will work as an “App-On” on top of the underlying Unified Communication as a service platform.
Nathan Zeldes, President of the Information Overload Research Group (IORG) said, “This move integrates two streams of information, each previously prone to its own debilitating information overload: email, and the management of social network connectivity. By intelligently automating the second based on what happens in the first, the overall overload and time investment is reduced even while the quality of social relationships is deepened.”
The tool will be offered free of charge for a limited period to expo and conference organisers to promote Unified Inbox to their exhibitors and visitors. Unified Inbox will also promote SocialGrow as one of the first App-On’s in its upcoming developer platform. It aims to launch a set of APIs on top of the Unified Inbox product which other developers can use to create their dream inbox. The App will work cross-platform (both on mobile and web).
Darl Kolb, Professor of Connectivity at the University of Auckland Business School’s Graduate School of Management and author of the blog Connectivity Corner said, “Social networks and connectivity are really two sides of the same coin. You can’t have a network without connectivity, and connectivity by its very nature creates and sustains networks. Ever since Granovetter’s famous article on the ‘strength of weak ties,’ we have understood the power of reaching out beyond our day-to-day contacts. But, visualising and organising our connections is not easy. As networks become increasingly important, tools to manage them will become increasingly important.”
The acquisition of SocialGrow comes after Unified Inbox’s announcement of leveraging SAP HANA technology for its smart sorting mechanism InboxRank.
“The SEA market is currently our most important market. We have found unique use cases here that — at this stage — probably wouldn’t work in other parts of the world. Our basic product which gives families a better and safer social media experience will launch next month in SEA and we’re targeting India as one of our key markets,” Ruckert said.
The company has operations in Bangalore and Cochin in India, and it has plans to expand to other cities soon.