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Are you tired of jumping from emails to instant messages to text messages, depending on who you’re talking to? A company called Chatterous feels your pain, and according to VentureWire, the Seattle startup has raised a small amount of angel funding (less than $500,000) to help.
There are other startups taking on this problem, but usually from a different angle. Companies like Orgoo and Digsby, for example, bring your email, IM and SMS accounts together in a single page or service. Twitter and its associated applications let you post short messages from the Web, your computer desktop or your phone, but the focus is on public messages on the Twitter Web site, not private groups.
Chatterous, on the other hand, lets you stick to the mode you like best, and you should only visit the site to sign-up for different groups. So if you hate instant messaging, you can just use email, but your friends can send and receive all your messages as an SMS. I was impressed by Chatterous at the recent demo day organized by incubator Y Combinator, where the various founders used the service to communicate between themselves as they pitched their ideas to investors. Chatterous looks easy to use, and it could be really useful because the rapid proliferation of communication tools is becoming a headache.
Of course, the company’s challenge — as cofounder Kenshi Arasaki acknowledges — is making the different modes work together smoothly. For example, it would be pretty annoying if you received an SMS every time someone sent you an instant message. Judging from the company blog, it looks like Chatterous has been tweaking the details of its service so that users are kept up-to-date on their conversations without feeling like they’re being spammed. I like their solution for email, where the number of emails you receive from a particular group is determined by how often you email the group yourself.
Update: Cofounder Kenshi Arasaki just emailed me to confirm that the startup has raised an angel round of “less than $1 million.”
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