How this new startup helps you sound smarter in your emails

Doug Pitorak

File 47291

For some people, writing isn’t their strong suit. It could be true for even the most successful business executives. Indeed, when an important email needs to be drafted — either as a response or as a conversation starter — some people stress about it, fearful that even a small mistake will reflect poorly on themselves and their company.

Wordzen eliminates that fear.

By inserting the Wordzen plug-in to their Firefox or Google Chrome browser, Gmail users can click a button and choose to have the Wordzen team look over their email before sending it. Human editors check the email for grammar, spelling, punctuation, as well as structure, rhythm and tone. In 10 minutes or less, Wordzen can either send along the email to the recipient or shoot it back to your drafts so you can be the final reviewer and sender.

“The concept behind Wordzen is to make your email communication and email composition effortless to the point where you don’t even have to worry about whether you’re being correct or not,” Ajay Goel, founder of Wordzen, said. “If you click our button, we will ensure that your email makes you sound smart and it contains perfect English. We’re trying to be that friend or colleague you have look over your email before it gets sent.”

According to Goel, Wordzen differs from auto spell checks such as the one in Gmail in that it is more accurate.

“That’s certainly useful, and most of the time that service will be correct,” Goel said. “There are certain instances, though, where you’ll get a red underline underneath a word that is actually spelled correctly, or used correctly but in a rare context such that Google’s auto spell check thinks you messed up, when you haven’t.”

Goel said the Chicago-based startup began developing the widget in Q4 of 2014 and launched it at the beginning of March. According to Goel, Wordzen — which is currently free — acquired about 150 users since its launch. Users, Goel said, come from around the country, and a small sector is international.

He said the idea stemmed from seeing and hearing about successful individuals who had poor email communication — which could lead to inaccurate perceptions. Goel, who founded email marketing platform JangoMail and sold it in 2013, said those observations combined with the release of a Gmail API last year fueled motivation for Wordzen.

For now, the widget can be used for free, though Goel said he is on the verge of converting some users into the startup’s first paying customers. He intends to charge users a monthly fee based on the volume of emails a user sends, as well as the length of the emails and how long it takes Wordzen to edit them. Wordzen is reviewing 10-15 emails per day, Goel said.

Goel is the sole full-time employee at Wordzen. A part-time editor, designer and developer help, as well.

Wordzen is entirely bootstrapped, he said, adding that he funds Wordzen with some capital from the JangoMail sale, the financial details of which are not public.

A majority of Wordzen users use the widget for business purposes. While the primary concern is making sure the emails are correct, Goel said the scope of Wordzen could expand.

“What I’m finding is that correcting people's email for English is just one aspect of how the technology we built can be used, because really if we take a step back, what we built is a platform that allows us to make changes to people’s email messages,” Goel said. “And so whether that change is correcting your English or maybe it’s adding a picture to your email or maybe it’s adding a translation to your email in a different language, we’re kind of just assessing how people are using it and then tailoring the product toward how it can be used.”

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via [email protected].

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