As a young woman building a tech company back in 2012, Andrea Loubier had a lot of misconceptions to overcome. But in the last seven years, this half American – half Filipino Millennial has turned Mailbird into the world’s favorite email client for Windows. Together with her remote team, Andrea runs Mailbird – and writes for Forbes magazine – from Bali, where she moved because it’s “a location that inspires her.”
A true world citizen, who has lived and traveled around the world, Andrea was a pleasure to interview. We talked about her background, business and marketing strategies, and how the tech industry got bored of focusing on gender.
Moreover, Andrea is excited to announce Mailbird’s new lineup with Mailbird Personal and Mailbird Business.
“Everyone can try the best email management tool yet with all the email features and app integrations, like ZeroBounce,” she says.
You grew up in Indonesia, lived in the U.S. and then moved to Bali. How has that shaped you professionally and personally?
Actually, I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for nine years. After that I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio for 13 years. Got tired of it, quit my job and decided to move back to Indonesia. Specifically, on a tropical island called Bali where I could build my first tech software company – because why not? 🙂
I’m half American (father) and half Filipino (mother) and I carry an American passport and citizenship. Yet, I’ve traveled and lived in many places around the world: Toulouse (France), Kenya, Bangkok, Jakarta, Cincinnati and now Bali — so Europe, Africa, Asia and the U.S.
As a result of that, I easily adjust to new social environments and groups. Also, as compared to my peers in Ohio, I became very adaptable in any type of situation with people from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Professionally, it has helped build strong ties globally for me and a wide cultural understanding that helped me when building my first global tech company.
I love travel, nature, wine and building meaningful relationships that create a circle of safety, no matter where you are in the world, personally or professionally.
Where did you begin your career and how did that lead to starting Mailbird?
My first job out of college was with a market research firm in Ohio. I was there for six years and worked my way up through annual promotions.
Then I worked for a software firm for a year. I got a chance to see what a technology company could do and how they could scale, and the brilliant, positive culture they could create. I wanted to create my own company and I wanted to do it from a location that would inspire me.
So I quit, sold all my things, packed three suitcases that I would start my new life and company with in Bali, Indonesia.
What exactly did you have in mind?
I wanted to build my own awesome company from an international setting. My intention was to utilize technology and remote teams to build something that helps people around the world with their email communication.
Then, it all happened naturally. I stumbled upon a job opening for a tech company in Bali. Talking to the founders, they introduced me to their friend who soon became my future co-founder and partner for Mailbird.
How did you feel the world of entrepreneurship welcomed you as a young woman in tech?
It was all very new and very much still saturated with men. So, in Asia, many investors were more interested in my story of how I got to be in a place as the CEO of a tech company. That was funny.
At the same time, this was the landscape for tech.
I’d say I was very much welcomed and had to play the women in tech card quite a lot. That was an interesting pull in 2012, when I entered into this tech entrepreneur world. Because it was not so common and there were not many examples of female tech CEO’s in Asia.
So I set out to be an example for other young women who wanted to pursue their dreams of starting a technology company and being their own boss.
How important do you think gender still is in your industry?
The approach to gender has subtle differences because of how men and women founders are regarded in the tech industry. Even when you boil down the types of questions that female entrepreneurs get when pitching to venture capitalists.
For instance, they’d ask me questions around overcoming failure, whereas my male counterparts were getting questions about how they would achieve success. Subtle, but it’s there.
Today it’s a lot less noticed. I think we got bored of focusing so much on gender in the tech industry. Now the focus is on ROI and wherever you can get it and whoever can deliver it.
For those who aren’t familiar with Mailbird, what is it and what problems does it solve for people?
Mailbird is an email client that allows you to integrate any email account from any email provider (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Exchange, Private domains) into one tool. So you have one place, one consistant experience for managing all your email accounts and inboxes – no matter how many you have.
Also, Mailbird solves the issue of being overloaded by too many different tools that we use to communicate and stay productive. Again, that is why we built one tool to integrate all your email communication and chat, messenger, meeting, productivity, task, note-taking and calendar apps into one place.
One stream to manage, which is way easier than many.
We focus on ways for people and businesses to engage in healthy and low-stress interactions with email management.
Furthermore, Mailbird provides a clean and beautiful experience. That takes part in reducing our anxiety and stress when it comes to our inboxes. We’re all about helping people manage their communications and time effectively with Mailbird, building a healthy relationship with email.
What role does the Mailbird – ZeroBounce integration play here?
At Mailbird, we believe in the power of support and growth through your network and through complementary businesses.
One of the problems that ZeroBounce solves is ensuring people send emails safely and successfully. This means that if you’re a Mailbird user, you can make sure your emails are valid before sending. For starters, you can use the free email verifier to see how it works.
If you have a list, it’s easy to create an account on the platform and start cleaning it. This way you never waste resources on emailing dead email addresses.
With its email validation technology, ZeroBounce helps us to communicate better. And anything that helps us email better with Mailbird, we give it our seal of approval.
Want to learn more about the Mailbird – ZeroBounce integration? Read about it here, and if you use Mailbird, search for the ZeroBounce icon in your dashboard.
What has been the most effective digital marketing channel for you at Mailbird? Is email a big part of your strategy?
I wouldn’t say there’s been just one, but for sure the top ones include PR, SEO and of course, email marketing.
We love email marketing.
IF you have a list of people who will largely benefit from your solution, service or offering, then it has one of the highest conversion rates. In the end, email marketing – IF you do it well, with the right message and segment – is a win for everyone.
Are there any email marketing rules you follow?
We don’t support spamming or aimless email marketing. We believe in investing in resources to get the solution on a one-way track directly to the people and businesses that need it most. When you do this, email marketing is brilliant.
If you could recommend three digital marketing strategies for 2019, what would they be?
1. Customer engagement
Make sure you’re constantly educating, helping and delivering value, because they are the ones that will provide growth for your business.
You can do this via email marketing, social media, content and any other means to communicate with your customers. Also, a live call with a customer goes a long long way.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It’s a very uncertain lever for building your growth strategy. That’s because if you don’t do it correctly, the promise of latter results in four months time can be a wash, with no gains for your business or customers.
However, if you do it strategically, it’s a powerful way to help the world find their solution to their problem with your business.
In our case, we want people to be able to easily find us if they’re unhappy with their existing email solution or if they’re in search of one.
3. Referral programs
The more you can serve your customers by honoring and rewarding them for supporting you, the larger the market you can tap into. We build in referral programs into our business from our website, to our app and our online presence.
Your customers will be your biggest ambassadors, so make sure you take the time to keep them happy.
What do’s and don’ts do you have for someone who’s just about to start their own business?
Don’t keep the business idea to yourself. Instead, talk to people about it one on one and in larger groups, too. Get feedback and tailor it to a single solution you’re building your business around.
When making important business decisions, do your research. Don’t make assumptions, use data to support your decisions or gut feelings. You cannot improve or change what you don’t measure.
Also, get help. However, make sure you establish trust with those whom you ask for help to support you in your business development endeavors.