An Interview with Michael Findlater- CEO of Elastic Email

Today we have with us, The CEO of Elastic email, Michael Findlater, Let's go through his entrepreneurial journey,

Michael Findlater

  • Hi Michael, Glad to have you as our guest, Please introduce yourself in your own style
Sure Harish, my name is Michael Findlater and I am the current CEO of Elastic email - a leading email delivery solution for tens of thousands of customers world-wide. My business partners Joshua Perina and Michal Bochnak created the beginnings of Elastic Email in 2010 and I got on board a little over a year later.

Josh and Michal being highly technical software engineers were looking for a partner who has similar experience, but brought more business awareness to the company. I guess with me also being an entrepreneur with my own company Finnysoft, my experience/education and personality, we just sort of “clicked”.

Prior to Elastic Email I was a Principal at Softworks Group where I was the lead developer and then manager of the product Alinity, which is an Association Management platform specializing in regulatory management such as registration, continuing competency, conduct and more.

In the early days, I spent 3 years as a database administrator for GE Fanuc, one of General Electric’s 13 business units at the time.  This is where I got my SQL chops!

As for education, I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta.  I majored in Management Information Systems and minored in Organizational Theory. I also studied music in college for a couple of years obtaining a Music Diploma and chased a childhood dream for a while to be the next big rock band! (

When I’m not working, I spend most of my time with my beautiful wife and a lot of time on the lake water skiing.

  • We at Boost Bloggers believe that every entrepreneur has a story, can you tell the story of your startup and challenges faced to make it successful company.
Well I can honestly say that I don’t think any one of us had a huge passion at the beginning for email.  There were other things going on and of course email is part of just about every solution you can imagine.  When it came to the point of needing to integrate email, we just realized, we could do this better and cheaper than what was available!  So 1.0 was born and it has just iterated to this day.

We believe email is going to be a commodity and we have built our business around that.  By writing every line of code down to the protocol level, we own the MTA and that allows us granular control and flexibility that many of our competitors can’t offer.

As for challenges, we’ve had many.  Scaling and building a distributed system is not trivial and we have learned a lot with the growth rate Elastic Email has had over the years.  Our most notable challenge however is dealing with spam.  This unfortunate reality of our business has caused us to spend an enormous amount of resources over the years which I would much have preferred to spend elsewhere innovating and creating.

  • What differentiates elastic email from mailchimp and other competitors?
Great question!  This space is filled with various providers all delivering very comparable solutions.  We have some unique delivery tools with smart learning capabilities.  This is very exciting and helps get mail to the inbox when it should.  The biggest differentiator though between us and everyone is our cost.  We have revolutionary pricing and are simply the lowest cost provider on the market coupled with all the expected features of a service like ours.  We have a pretty good buzz about our Customer Support in our industry too – this has always been a priority for us.

  • "Up to 1.5 lac free emails per month with personalization, and tracking"- This is statement that got my attention when i visited elastic email for the first time, but doesn't that affect the revenue model ?
Back to what I was touching on earlier, we built our own MTA.  Other providers often are required to outsource this part of the business which comes with a hefty price tag.  We are a bootstrapped company and pride ourselves on running a lean machine.  This free tier stands alone in this industry and gives so many companies and Startups an opportunity to send their mail.  We love the word of mouth from these happy customers, and of course as these companies grow too, they often turn into paying customers for us.

  • Can we send RSVP mail for attendees of an event, If yes how?
There would be various ways to do this in Elastic Email.  Creating a template with multiple buttons or links would be one way.  We have detailed link click tracking where you could easily view in our dashboard which link was clicked and this can be exported as well to use Excel or Google Sheets to tabulate.

Elastic Email actually has a survey tool that you could create for this and send to your list.  The survey results are easily viewed and exported as well from our dashboard.

Elastic Email also has a custom form builder, so you could create a specific form that includes a custom field for attending an event.  You could then send out a merge tag in your email that will automatically generate a link to this form where your contacts could update if they are attending the event or not.

One thing I love about our product is that it is designed in such a way that we see our customers being creative and creating solutions we didn’t even conceive.

  • Could you share one trick that could drastically improve performance of an email campaign?
List hygiene.  There are no tricks to be honest.  We have some smart tools and a plethora of information on how to improve sending – these will all help.  However, the most important thing to do is keep a quality list up to date.  Be proactive with re-engagement campaigns and contacts that stop engaging, stop sending to them.  Elastic Email has automation tools built-in to help manage this.

If you want to have success over the long term, list management is the only solution.  We watch customers jump from provider to provider, changing out their IPs and all this action to try and get emails to people who don’t want them – it is like pounding a square peg through a round hole and is kind of silly in my opinion.

  • How do we track performance of email campaigns in elastic email and tell us about efforts put in to improve it.
We use a lot of different metrics to determine your sending reputation with Elastic Email.  Both open and click rates are among them, along with others such as invalid rate and complaint rate.  Tracking opens is very important to determine how your email is doing.  We in fact have system logic for determining which IP’s your mail is sent from based on open rates.  For marketing email we consider a good open rate to be above 15% and for transactional email it is much higher.  Elastic Email will categorize your contact as Engaged when they open your email.  We further have delivery tools that will send emails first to engaged contacts ramping up your IP reputation as well as smart IP Pool management to deliver only engaged email on a set of IP’s for example.  We are finding ESP’s such as Gmail or Yahoo are paying much more attention to this engagement information and can be the difference from landing an email in the inbox or the spam folder.

  • What next? What can we expect more from elastic email?
Elastic Email is a growing company.  We have a fantastic team and a unique company culture.  We feel email is going to be around for a while as it is just such a “source of record” for people now a days with all the instant communication channels also available.  We want to make it as simple and cost effective as possible for our customers to reach their audience.  Currently we are investing heavily into our distributed architecture to allow us to provide amazing performance no matter where you are in the world.

  • Let's get to the personal side, Who's your role model and why?
My dad.  I told him at a young age I was going to work half as hard and earn twice as much money as him…  My dad was in education serving kids all over the world.  He worked passionately and relentlessly for that while I was growing up and even into my adult years.  It became clear early on in my career though that I loved working just as hard as him.  He laughs at me now that he is retired and slowed down (a bit) and I’m right where he was at his age I think.  I learned a lot from him about business actually.  All of his advice and anecdotes usually involved teachers, principals, administrators and kids but it is amazing how it relates to business – its people and people are what make businesses successful.

  • If you were to give a piece of advice to youngsters, what would it be?
Put down your phone.

  • It was a great pleasure interviewing you Michael, One last question, What are your thoughts on our blog?
It is now bookmarked in my favorites.  I have read some very interesting articles on your site and it definitely correlates a lot of the information I’m interested in into one site. Thank you.

Signs off

Post a Comment


All comments will be moderated before they are displayed, so do not include hyperlinks in comments

Post a Comment (0)