Former CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer! Inc.
Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced Wednesday the launch of Sunshine, a consumer app startup debuting an address book app reliant on artificial intelligence.
Sunshine is Meyer’s first venture and has returned to headlines since the company’s $ 4.48 billion Verizon sale in 2017, after stepping down from its role as CEO of Yahoo.
At launch, Meyer’s start-up Sunshine Contacts, an address book app that relies on AI to search for and merge duplicate contacts, fills incomplete information and constantly updates that information. The app integrates iOS contacts app as well as Gmail and all iOS users will get an invitation free.
“The idea is that sunshine contact basically becomes the brain that conducts your contacts,” Mayer told CNBC. “Contact, in our view, should be a living, changing thing.”
The application is also designed to make it easy for others to share their contact information or keep updated information for others. One feature, for example, allows users to change their contact information within the app and push it as an update to others who keep their information and use sperm contacts.
“As I’m working on contacts, some days I’m really upset and worried that there are thousands of people out there who still have my Google email address or Yahoo email address,” said Meyer, before displaying the feature .
For Meyer, working on consumer apps is a return to form. Meyer made his reputation within the tech industry as a product manager during his tenure at Google.
It was here that she met her Sunshine co-founder Enrique Munoz Torres in 2003. There, the two collaborated on several projects, including iGoogle, which is now a flawed Google product that allows users to convert the Google website into a customized home page for their browser. Mayer had originally opposed the idea of iGoogle, but Torres’ presentation of the project sold it over.
“I was the keeper of the Google home page. It was my job to keep it clean, and Enrique got up and his idea was to just put stuff on it, and he knew I was just like ‘No’.” Mayer said. ” The way he sometimes overhears his arguments, it makes me think about things differently. “
Torres worked as senior vice president in search and advertising in 2013 from Mayer to Yahoo. Meyer at Yahoo said the two began discussing fundamental ideas for Sunshine in their final year. He decided that the ideas had no meaning at the time but might be worth revisiting.
Both left Yahoo when Verizon’s sales were completed in June 2017.
“Six months later Enrique called me and we got together and he was’ I’m still excited to start the company we were talking about a year ago, ‘and I was like,’ I’m too , “Recalled Meyer.
Marissa Mayer and longtime collaborator Enrique Muñoz Torres announced the launch of Sunshine and its first app Sharp Contact on Wednesday.
Both have been working on Sunshine since 2018. The company is based in Palo, Alto, California and has raised $ 20 million in seed from investors inside and outside, including Felicis Ventures, Unusual Ventures and Win Ventures.
“Over the course of time, I’ve developed a tremendous amount of respect for Marissa as a product thinker and Marissa as a person as well,” Torres said. “With Marissa brainstorming about this company and products elsewhere, the alignment was always very fast.”
Sunshine Contact is the first in a suite of planned consumer apps. Way Sunshine aims to release an app focused on family sharing, scheduling, event organization and small group communication down the road. To improve contacts, Sunshine will create a foundation from which it can build other apps.
“We recognize that the issues with contacts are widespread, but many people have learned to be satisfied with the status quo,” Torres said. “This is the class of problems that we like for gravity.”
Meyer referred to this type of app as “small-scale sharing”, adding that consumers have evolved over the years. They no longer want mega apps that take care of everything for them, but are open to having more apps that are really good at serving specific purposes, Meyer believes.
“The mega app that does everything for everyone is something that has become less attractive over time,” she said. “We want apps that take on specific problems.”
Meyer said that apps have become more comfortable paying for apps that provide them value. Although Sunshine Contact will be free at the time of launch, Meyer further implements a freemium business model, where users can pay for additional features within the Sunshine app.
Unlike most consumer tech companies, Sunshine vows not to do business outside the store of data users in its services.
“The data that you give us, you are giving it with the purpose of improving your experience with the product,” Torres said. “We are not going to target advertising based on that data, we are not going to sell it overall, individually, in any shape or form.”
“We don’t think it’s appropriate to benefit from users’ data,” he said.