2009 fbFund Winner NutshellMail Delivers Facebook Updates to You in an Email Digest

This morning, as the fbFund REV summer incubator is still just getting under way, we bring our attention to 2009 fbFund winner NutshellMail, a website that updates you on what’s going on within your social networks in simple email digest form that can be delivered however frequently you’d like. We recently spoke with co-founders (or, in their words Co-Chief Nuts), David Lyman and Mark Schmulen, who shared with us why they started NutshellMail and their plans for the summer and beyond.

Inside Facebook: What problem does NutshellMail solve?

We enable our users to stay engaged in conversation and online activity without being distracted. With Facebook, it’s easy to get annoyed of email notifications and most of them remain unread. By consolidating activity on Facebook – and even Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn – we deliver email digests to users when and how often they want them. As a consequence, our email open rates are high.

The focus of our service is taking information from Facebook and delivering it to people who don’t want to be logging onto Facebook.com all the time to check updates. These days, people use email clients not only to manage email messages, but also for calendaring, contacts, etc. Email has become the central hub for managing life, and we’re filling the hole of managing one’s social networks. The fact remains that email is still the killer app; and with NutshellMail, you can see friend requests, group invites, the News Feed stream, and even like or comment on content all through the context of email.

What types of Facebook users would find NutshellMail valuable?

We listened to users and friends and found that people want to be part of the Facebook conversation, but don’t want it to control their lives. NutshellMail allows you to manage communications on Facebook on your own terms, doesn’t create clutter, and delivers updates to you in a visual way. NutshellMail can also drive traffic back to Facebook’s site.

We’re bridging the gap between social networking activity and the email inbox. There are different types of users that NutshellMail appeals to, but it’s particularly useful for people who belong to multiple social networks, including Facebook, and have trouble staying on top of them. They want to stay highly engaged without getting flooded with too many email notifications. Over half of are users have Facebook linked to their NutshellMail accounts.

A NutshellMail email digest:

What is the process new users go through to get started on NutshellMail?

The first step is to select which social networks you want to integrate with. The second step is to determine how frequently you want to receive digests – from every hour to once a week. The last step is which enter the email address you would like the digest to be delivered to. You can integrate with Facebook directly through our Facebook app as well.

NutshellMail’s Facebook app:

Customizing how often you want email digests delivered to you:

What were you both doing prior to NutshellMail?

David: Mark and I went to UPenn together; and after graduating, I went to Houston to work for Accenture.

Mark: I worked in investment banking at JPMorgan. David and I went to middle school, high school, and college together, and our fathers grew up on the same street in Louisiana. Fast forward, and we’re still best friends and starting a company together. NutshellMail was conceived in college; and since then, we’ve put together a top-notch team.

What’s on the agenda for this summer’s incubator program?

This summer we’ll be working on making the NutshellMail experience more customizable and deciding which additional features to add. As of today, our Facebook implementation provides users with updates on new messages, friend requests, pokes, birthdays, group/event invitations (which you can then add to your calendar), the stream, and status updates.