Email will be with us for a good time longer. DokDok, along with founder Bruno Morency, is seeking to evolve this often cumbersome communication mechanism, solving the often onerous challenge of exchanging documents via file attachment, tracking them, versioning them, facilitating interaction with them, and extending this vision to facilitate other products.
In Part 1, of this four part series, I sat down with Bruno to understand more about the product and its origins.
TPG: How would you describe DokDok to the average person?
Bruno: Have you ever spent a few hours editing a document only to realize that you didn’t start from the latest version? That shouldn’t happen and this is what we solve. When a document gets emailed to colleagues or clients, typically, a long sequence of emails follow. DokDok makes it easy to keep track of who said what and list versions of the document attached from different emails.
TPG: Tell us about yourself and how you decided to start DokDok.
Bruno: My first company, started right after graduating from McGill Engineering in 2001, developed a web-based knowledge management application and was bought in 2003. Before founding DokDok in 2009, I was involved in other hi-tech startups as head of marketing and product development.
Since being introduced to Pine on an old UNIX terminal, I always had a love-hate relationship with email. I kept on trying to find a better way to share documents rather than sending attachments but always ended up coming back to email. With DokDok, my goal is to make attachments a sensible way to share document. That effort made me love email even more as a user but, coincidentally, hate it more as a developer.
TPG: What is your business model?
Bruno: DokDok is a SaaS product. It’s offered as an hosted service and once we’re out of beta, we’ll have membership options with added premium features.
TPG: Who is your competition?
Bruno: Currently users manage attachments and documents in email in an ad-hoc way. As it is, the process of handling document revisions in email is time consuming and prone to error. The competition mainly includes solutions addressing this problem by trying to eliminate email: folder synching (Dropbox, SugarSync, …), collaboration rooms (Box.net, Huddle, SharePoint, …) and traditional enterprise document management systems.
Fact is, unless you can force everyone to create an account on these services and check it regularly for updates, you can’t escape from email. Products like Xobni and Gist brought relationship management to the inbox because that’s where it happens. We’re doing the same for documents.
TPG: What is your work environment like?
Bruno: Amazing! We’re still a small team and we’re sharing an office with a few other tech startups in downtown Montreal. Being surrounded by people close enough to your team (you see them many times per week) yet not directly involved (they’re working on their own startup) has given feedback, ideas, opportunities and connections that just wouldn’t have happened if we all worked from home or in a tiny office just for our small team.
DokDok is an email enhancer that currently works with your Gmail, Google Apps, Highrise to overlay concepts of a robust document management and version control system to email attached documents. In this part of the series, we learned a good deal about DokDok, its origins, and environment. However, my conversation with Bruno covered many other topics. We can all look forward to the next part in our conversation with Bruno and DokDok exploring the company’s finances and future.
The Product Guy