Profile: Gist

Paul Allen-backed Gist to offer e-mail service

Posted by John Cook at September 8, 2008 12:01 a.m.

Gist, a new Seattle Internet startup backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is emerging from stealth mode this week with a new e-mail service that is designed to help people better manage "information overload."

The service, slowly being rolled out in a private beta, puts emails, Web links, documents, blog posts and other information related to a specific person or company in one easy to reach place. For example, someone who wanted to track all of their interactions, documents and news about Arch Venture Partners’ Robert Nelsen or Yapta’s Tom Romary could do so.

That could lead to deeper connections with those people, so if a
flattering magazine article appeared about Nelsen or Romary the Gist
user could reach out to them.

I first discovered the company back
in March, then known as Minebox and described as a way to merge your
"inbox, web news and dynamic social network." At the time, the company
and Vulcan weren’t saying much. And I pointed out that there appeared
to be overlap with the efforts of San Francisco startup Xobni, which says it is "revolutionizing the way people manage email relationships."

Gist is led by T.A. McCann, who previously founded the
question-and-answer community HelpShare and worked in Microsoft’s
Exchange Server Group.

The 5-person company, which is backed
with an undisclosed amount of funding from Allen’s Vulcan Capital, also
recently named Steve Newman as chief technology officer. Newman is the
former vice president of software engineering at Go2Net (which also was
backed by Paul Allen) and the former vice president of product
development at InfoSpace.

And why the name Gist, other than it is pretty easy to type into a Web browser?

McCann explains:

"Gist is all about simplifying and focusing attention and giving you
the ‘gist’ of what you need to know about your key contacts and

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