Ria Greiff is a thoroughly modern woman. She’s a mom, a professor, a consultant and, most recently, a startup co-founder. Like many other founders, Ria’s company grew out of a problem she was dealing with that didn’t seem to already have a solution. In her case, the problem was an overwhelming number of emails from multiple email accounts. How was an already extremely busy woman supposed to stay on top of that?
Ria and her husband Scott put their heads together and came up with a mobile email app, MailTamer. Currently available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, MailTamer allows you organize your mail pretty much any way you want, making it easier to process and respond to. It’s time to get rid of that pit you get in your stomach when you open your email in the morning and realize you have over a hundred unread messages.
Ria managed to make some time in her jam-packed schedule to chat with me recently about the genesis of MailTamer, the balance she’s created between being a mom and having a career, and women in tech. Oh, and by the way, her awesome app is in the process of raising cash through the crowdfunding sight Fundable. If you like what you read, give them some love (by which I mean dollars) here.
Is MailTamer your first startup?
Yes it is. I do wellness programming and I help people make the best out of their lives: how to be most productive, how to be most effective, how to manage their lives to decrease their stress, and all this other stuff and my husband is a software developer.
One of the things that I’ve been working on and developing materials for is helping people manage their email and their lives. I did some radio shows and talked to people about that; especially for the “mom-preneur” part of the population, because there’s a lot of that going on right now.
When did you realize that the world needed MailTamer?
What I noticed is that a lot of mom-preneurs are slogging through lots and lots and lots of emails. It’s crazy to think about 6,000 or 10,000 emails in your inbox, but that seems to be the phenomenon. A lot of people just don’t have time to look at every email and actually open it up and press delete and make sure they look at what the content is before so we leave it there unopened because we’re not ready to look at it and manage it. In addition to that, we have multiple email accounts. I personally have five email accounts and before I know it I have 400 or 500 or some crazy number like that because I have a lot of things linked into my email.
My husband was looking at my inbox and he started thinking, what can we do? What kind of app can we create to make this go much more quickly? And MailTamer was born.
What’s so great about MailTamer?
I’ll tell you my personal experience to explain what MailTamer does. I went from 10,000 emails to about 400 emails in 30 minutes.
There are a couple things that are unique about MailTamer. One is the sender view. You can look at your emails based on sender. So all the email I get from you will be in one folder and I can look at them and I can more them to one folder and it will just be one swipe, one tap, and your emails are in your folder. Or I can delete them, tag them, create a contact. We have the recipient view as well as the traditional view and contact view. It helps people manage their inbox and it helps people get to what we call the “Zen of the Zero Inbox” very quickly and really save a lot of time.
Is this mostly for smartphones or is it also something you can put into your email on your computer?
That’s a great question. Right now it’s for iPhone, iPod, and iPad but we’re also working on it for computers. We didn’t think that people would be interested in having it on their laptops but a lot of people have asked that question so we are working on having it for the Mac as well.
Do you have a full time job as well or is MailTamer your full time thing at this point?
Well, one of my full time jobs is I have a ten year old, a five year old, and a one year old. The other thing is I’m a psych professor and I’m also the clinical director of a consulting firm and that’s the wellness programming that I do.
But I teach the classes online, so I’m able to spend a lot of time at home with my kids; especially the baby. The consulting stuff is all done from home too.
Is that something you consciously worked into your life as a mother who also wanted to make an income or did that just kind of happen?
Yeah, absolutely, that was a huge undertaking. The question was: do I want to continue with my career or do I want to be with my children? And I realized that I could do both, but what it required was for me to get really creative and really put myself out there and search for things that would meet my needs. I think, these days especially, women have a lot more choices in that regard.
That’s definitely not an easy thing to work out. I think it’s something a lot of women are struggling with right now. On top of all of that, do you have any hobbies? Do you even have time for hobbies?
We do community gardening. We have a true community garden where we all plant, maintain, and harvest together, so no one has an individual plot. That’s something we do as a family.
We’re also very much into going to all of the local happenings: dance, art, music festivals. We’re big bikers, skateboarders and we just generally like being outdoors quite a bit.
Sounds like you’re finding a nice balance between the tech world and the outdoor world.
You know, it’s so funny because I really wasn’t so much a part of the tech world before. I started getting into it when I started teaching online and then meeting my husband. Once we got into MailTamer I kind of took over the marketing and operations aspect of it and I really got into the tech world. I had no idea what millions of terms were and I just learned as I went along and what I’ve found interesting is that it’s so male-dominated.
It really is.
It is, but what I have been finding most lately—and I think this is very, very new—is a lot more women taking charge and taking control and carving out a niche for themselves in the tech world. Like I said, it’s not easy and a lot of times I feel like I’m banging my head up against a brick wall. It’s like, “I’m not getting anywhere, I’m not getting anywhere.” You really have to be persistent and then you make connections like the connection we’re making right now and you’re like, okay. This is what it’s for. This is what it’s all about. There are women out there like that. We can all be there for each other and help each other out.
I’m starting to build that community a little bit at a time. Not as quickly as I’d like, honestly, but then again patience has never really been my forte.
Me either! (Laughs) Going back to your experience as a working woman and a mom, it almost seems like being a startup entrepreneur fits that lifestyle better than a job in the traditional corporate world.
I agree, that’s very true. It’s really something that’s a 24/7 thing. You constantly plug away in the virtual world. You work any time of day and I can do it with my little girl trying to get ahold of my keyboard in the background and nobody knows. I can have my mom jammies on and be able to conduct my business professionally, even if I don’t feel or look as professional as maybe I’d like to at the moment.
It’s funny because that’s a totally different side of the stereotypical entrepreneur that we picture, which is the young 20-something guy in the office for 18 hours a day. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?
We have another app that we’re going to be releasing soon called TaskTamer. We’re starting to realize that we’re more than just an app or a couple of apps. What we really want is to grow into a business that helps, in general, with productivity and efficiency issues. Eventually we’ll get to the point where we’ll develop an actual company and the company will represent the apps themselves but right now we’re just on MailTamer.
Another thing is that Scott has just been nominated for the Tech Columbus Innovator Award for product of the year and for inventor of the year, so we’re really excited about that as well.
That’s excellent! Congratulations! And thanks so much for chatting with me today!
Ria Greiff | MailTamer