In an MIT dorm room, Xobni started off as a pet project by co-founder Adam Smith to analyze the information in his Outlook inbox. When it became clear that these insights would be useful to others, he joined up with Matt Brezina to start Xobni.
After receiving seed funding from YCombinator and other investors, the two drove across the country to San Francisco, and development began in earnest on an "addon" for Microsoft Outlook.
That February, Bill Gates praised Xobni for Outlook at a technology demo, proclaiming it the "next generation of social networking".
The name Xobni was chosen - representing how the user can "take back" their inbox. It was originally pronounced "ZOH-bnee". Bill Gates pronounced it "ZAH-bnee". We went with his pronunciation.
When Xobni released its second wave of products, it adopted the Smartr moniker. With Smartr for Gmail, iPhone, and Android, all the email analysis now happens in the cloud. Likewise, you can access all your contacts across all these devices.