Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Special Delivery for All: Message Bus Launches Email Service

The co-founders of Webshots and Twitter’s early infrastructure and operations lead have started a new email services company called Message Bus that’s already backed with more than $3 million from True Ventures and Polaris Ventures.

Message Bus, which is coming out of stealth today, helps businesses deliver emails.

Web companies these days often enlist infrastructure service providers like Chargify, Twilio, SimpleGeo to implement their billing systems, voice and SMS services, databases of places, and other projects. Start-ups don’t have to spend as many precious resources hiring specialists and building things from scratch that aren’t their main product, and afterwards can more easily scale as they grow. Some people call this phenomenon “infrastructure apps,” and many of the providers are themselves built on top of Amazon Web Services.

Message Bus is not the first or only company to apply this concept to email; for instance, there are already start-up SendGrid (see our video interview) and Amazon Simple Email Service.

However, Message Bus aims to be different by providing live analytics about what happens to emails (similar to Chartbeat for Web site monitoring), by not requiring users to set up their own email servers, and by dynamically scaling to match customers’ needs, said co-founder Narendra Rocherolle in an interview last week.

Message Bus is run by Rocherolle (as president) and his long-time business partner Nick Wilder (as CEO). Its CTO is Twitter Director of Operations Jeremy LaTrasse, who had been with Twitter since it started at Odeo until leaving last spring. While being responsible for Twitter’s infrastructure might not always be something to brag about, LaTrasse had among other things built the Twitter system that sends users notification emails, a direct precedent for Message Bus.

Message Bus was founded out of Rocherolle and Wilder’s Start Project incubator in Mill Valley, Calif. Its technology team is currently working out of Pivotal Labs in San Francisco.

Rocherolle said he wants Message Bus to ultimately be “an agnostic messaging architecture,” calling this “Twitter’s road not taken.” He explained, “You used to hear Twitter talk about all these objects communicating– even parking meters are going to have tweets–but now they are much more concerned with the content.”

Rocherolle added that Message Bus hopes to get approval from major email providers to eliminate relaying email through SMTP from certain senders, and to add other forms of messaging like SMS.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald