Automattic has invested $30 million in Titan, a professional email suite aimed at businesses and companies offering white-labeled email solutions for customers. At WordCamp India 2021, Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg said that the company had just made “a pretty large investment” in the India-based startup and stated that it “will be a big part of how WordPress.com offers email going forward.” The Series A investment in Titan is Automattic’s largest to date and values the company at $300 million.
Although Automattic has gained notoriety for its “no offices or email” approach to business, most of the working world has not yet transitioned away from relying heavily on email.
“I think email is definitely on its way out, between things like P2 and Slack, which is a work place chat tool,” Mullenweg said on Glenn Leibowitz’s podcast in 2015. “Email just has so many things wrong with it. I’ve never heard anyone who’ve said they love email, they want more of it–have you?”
Six years later, email is still a reliable source of misery for most working people, but Titan aims to transform it into a more meaningful communication channel for businesses with help of Automattic’s investment. It includes features like scheduled send, follow-up reminders, smart filters and custom folders, email templates, and white labeling with deep integration for various platforms.
WordPress.com’s marketing has increasingly been aimed at small businesses over the past few years with a strong push for users to make money by selling things through their websites. It’s easy to see how Titan makes sense as a supporting product that legitimizes any business with a custom branded email address. Customers who have registered, transferred, or mapped a custom domain through WordPress.com are offered a three-month free trial of Titan-powered email services.
Setting up custom branded email addresses separately would be a much more inconvenient process and most customers with custom domains are likely better off rolling email services into their existing WordPress.com setup. This strategically enables WordPress.com to be more of a one-stop shop for business needs. People are often reluctant to change their email providers so Titan has the effect of making WordPress.com’s products a more sticky subscription that would require some effort to reproduce elsewhere.
“We need an alternative to Google and Microsoft, which have started to monopolize email,” Mullenweg told Bloomberg. “Of about 6 billion email accounts in the world, only a fraction are small business email accounts and they need a product that’s focused on their needs,” he said.
After just two years, Titan has more than 100,000 small business customers. In addition to its relationships with WordPress.com, HostGator, NameSilo, and other web providers, Titan aims to grow its customer base by partnering with popular hosting companies, domain registrars, and site builders.