Former Office Mix execs form a new messaging startup with a twist

Anoop Gupta, a former Microsoft exec and scientist, is currently working on a new messaging system designed to enable meaningful conversations with people outside of your immediate networks. In an interview with Geekwire, the man who used to be technical assistant to Bill Gates explained how he came up with "a different way to think about the messaging space."

Gupta, who joined Microsoft in 1997 as Principal Researcher, left the company in November 2015 after working with former Microsoft partner engineering manager Aravind Bala on the Office Mix online presentation service. Gupta is now the CEO and co-founder of a startup named Zipstorm with Bala as a co-founder and CTO. With their new company, they are developing a new service called Telo which aims to distinguish itself from traditional social networks which monetize the access to their audiences to brands.

The new CEO imagines a system which would empower recipients of messages instead of senders or social platforms:

We believe if there’s money being exchanged, the person who’s providing the attention should be compensated. Currently the model is, ‘I’ve accumulated a whole bunch of users, I’m going to sell your attention to advertisers.'

Telo would work as a public profile and messaging address that users could share confidently with others. The system would discourage spam, so that users would only receive relevant messages that provide value for their attention. Using an analogy with Airbnb, a service that provides economic value but also social value to users who feel comfortable sharing their homes, Gupta explained that Telo could provide its users value in different forms including reputation and trust.

The service is currently in early stages of development, but the self-funded startup is currently in discussions with potential investors. It's not clear yet when the service will launch publicly, but you can already join a waiting list to know when it will be ready to launch. It's a pretty bold challenge to try something new in the already crowded messaging space, but we hope the co-founders will be able to push their user-centric philosophy forward. Let us know in the comments if you think there is still a market for new messaging services.

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