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ZEROmail – Co-founder Search Goes On

March 8, 2011

The search for a co-founder has been an interesting experience. Personally I feel that with ZEROmail we’re solving a huge problem with a massive market that isn’t very crowded. It seems that because email isn’t very “sexy” like group buying or social networking few startups focus in this area. The popularity of add-on apps like OtherInbox, Xobni and Rapportive clearly shows the potential in this market. It quite amazing to hear about the effort that email power-users go through to create “systems” within their existing clients to keep their email manageable. This is clearly not a nice-to-have. I believe that this is what many have been waiting for, with credit card in hand…

But what use is a good idea without a good team, right? Well, I bring 28 years of coding experience + the experience of having co-founded, grown and exited a successful startup to the table. In the last few years of running StartupCamps, Katrin has been the one of the most impressive designers I’ve come across, with 6 years of commercial experience and most of all an ability to get stuff done… quickly. So I think it’s safe to say that we have a team that knows how to execute well.

On top of all that, this is not just an idea… I already use ZEROmail as my primary email client.

While the 2 of us can probably build the system at least until open beta, things would move a lot faster with an extra coder on board. So we’ve been looking and from where I’m sitting I don’t understand why coders aren’t lining up to get on board… Maybe it’s not “sexy” enough… Maybe this highlights a problem with the Australian startup scene. Plenty of ideas people that are ready to come on board, not many coders. Maybe I just haven’t been able to reach the right people yet.

Anyway, time to widen the search… We’re happy co-founders from anywhere, as long as they are willing to relocate to Sydney… The way I see it, a lot of talent has moved to Silicon Valley, time to bring some back to Australia…

And since you’ve read this far, why not help us out and either send the following to your network or give some suggestions in the comments on where we could post this!

ZEROmail looking for technical co-founders

Email used to be fun. We’d get emails, respond to them, and all was good. Now we get heaps of emails every day and spend way too much time dealing with them. At the same time, email clients have hardly changed in the last 20 years. It’s time to reinvent this tool, to bring it into this day and age. This is the goal of ZEROmail!

We’re looking for great hackers that can (eventually) work full-time on ZEROmail in Sydney. We’re happy to talk to people from anywhere as long as you’re willing to relocate to Sydney. All founders have the same equity arrangement (in short, equity share is based on hours worked).

We are currently in closed beta and we’re aiming to open up the beta in 6-8 weeks. Code is in python, web framework is Tornado, database is Postgresql.

The current team consists of Katrin Suess, designer and front-end coder with 6 years of experience and Bart Jellema, experienced entrepreneur and great hacker with 28 years of coding experience.

So if you think you’ve got what it takes and are excited about joining a startup that will change the way we deal with email forever, send us an email ( now! If not, please pass this on to any great hackers you know!

Some more info:


From → ZEROmail

  1. You just narrowed your search down to a very tiny portion of entrepreneurs by forcing relocation to Sydney.

    Expecting someone to relocate – to a pretty poor tech scene – and receive ZERO salary is a bit much don’t you think?

    If you want more applications, you will need to open up to remote developers.

    • While I’m all for working remotely, I believe this is counter productive in a startup. There is something about a bunch of people in a room with a whiteboard that can’t be beaten. Since in a startup so many forces are already against you, I think it’s important to not compromise on the factors that you can control. So to maximize our chances of success we need to all be in the same room with a whiteboard…

  2. I agree to a certain extent – so the real question becomes, which combo is better:

    1) close proximity + small talent pool


    2) low proximity + large talent pool

    If ‘small talent pool’ in option 1 is so small that it is actually zero, then option 1 is no longer an option.

  3. Hi Bart,

    Well not sure (as the date of this blog entry is March, and it’s now August) if you did get anything sorted?

    It’s strange, I am currently (sort of intermittently!) working/helping with two tech startups – however virtually no income! but a strong belief they will work out.. of course got to try to pay our way, so trying to balance a few smaller paying contracts.

    Anyway, the point being is that I am currently in Sydney – my partner and I work really well together as she does mostly frontend/CSS/GX/UI/DB stuff, and I work on the backend side of things. We are just into the whole entrepreneurial thing (otherwise we would have gone back into say finance/banking IT and earn some decent cash!). I have approx 23 years IT experience.. wide range of technologies – my python is a little rusty, however I use .NET/Java/PHP/Javascript (some NodeJS stuff too) and recently a dose of Ruby/Rails, so picking up stuff is usually “relatively” ok.

    We follow a lot of the “Silicon Beach” stuff too – however not quite managed to get along to any events yet!

    Anyway, not sure if you are sorted, or if we might be able to help in other ways. I should build up my profile a little more, however I’m on twitter of course (@davidsheardown), also trying to keep my site up to date (ish!) and of course the easiest way is to just chat/skype etc I think! (skype id: davidsheardown)

    Look forward to chatting – seems like a decent enough idea for sure!

  4. I don’t think you need another Co-Founder, you just need another programmer.
    I personally think that if you were to take on another founder then you should get one that doesn’t have coding skills, but one with financial, marketing or legal expertise.

    I’ll send out your request to some friends of mine in Adelaide, but no promises as I don’t actually know anyone with Python skills.


  5. Bart – I am not suited for the job (an economist who has only ever coded in fortran) but I saw you on the SMH silicon valley series and reeally wanted to commend your efforts in the sydney tech scene

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