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ValiMail, a startup with a cloud service for authenticating email, is coming out of stealth mode today and revealing a $1.5 million seed round.

The startup is built around ensuring that companies only send out verified emails, so that employees, partners, and end users don’t end up receiving illegitimate messages. Rather than leaving companies to implement old authentication protocols — like the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), or the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) that builds on those two — ValiMail takes care of all that and offers users a simple web-based interface to work with, for an annual fee.

And yes, the team does think email still matters, even in this age of Slack channels and chatbots and voice-activated assistants.

“You’re seeing email continue to grow, even though its death was announced in the last three or four decades,” ValiMail cofounder and CEO Alex García-Tobar told VentureBeat in an interview.

Today’s launch comes three months after Google started using a question mark to flag incoming emails that haven’t been verified with SPF or DKIM. And Microsoft Outlook will soon be implementing something similar, García-Tobar said. So this is all timely; companies can now use ValiMail to get ahead of the curve, making sure their emails don’t get flagged and preventing their domains from being used to send potentially dangerous email.

This is particularly important as companies embrace more and more cloud services that deal in email, like newsletters and marketing campaigns, for example. ValiMail shows which services are being used and lets admins disable use of their domains for sending email — and adjusts Domain Name System (DNS) records accordingly.

Competitors include Agari, Dmarcian, and Return Path.

ValiMail started last year and is based in San Francisco, with six employees and more than a dozen customers, including Square, Uber, and Wix.

Bloomberg Beta and Flybridge led the funding round.

To give companies a sense of how companies are doing with their email authentication, ValiMail has launched a widget on its homepage that highlights issues with records free of charge. You can get similar results by opening the Terminal and entering the commands dig example.com TXT and dig _dmarc.example.com TXT — make sure to replace “example.com” with your site’s URL, of course — but they’re not as informative.

“If you don’t get it right, emails don’t get delivered,” said García-Tobar.


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