by Hessie Jones
As the CEO of Superhuman, Rahul Vohra has dedicated himself to solving one of the most pressing challenges of our digital age – email overload. “Superhuman is the fastest email experience in the world,” Vohra proudly shares. The platform’s users enjoy inbox speeds twice as fast as traditional email clients, empowering them to respond to crucial messages promptly. Additionally, many users achieve the elusive “Inbox Zero” for the first time in years, reclaiming an impressive 3 to 4 hours per week.
The inspiration behind Superhuman struck Vohra during an Uber ride, an experience that reshaped his perspective on time and productivity. Reflecting on that pivotal moment, Vohra reminisces, “I was in the back of an Uber and during that car ride, I managed to clear my emails, prepare documents for the next day, schedule a dinner reservation, and even call my mom…”
I was a productive employee; I was a proactive boyfriend; I was a present son. I was generally a better human.”
In that moment the realization for Vohra, was that the true magic of Uber wasn’t just transportation or getting from A to B; it was the gift of time.
Driven by this revelation, Vohra embarked on a mission to revolutionize the email experience by rethinking the way we interact with our inboxes. Understanding the persistent role of email in professional and personal communication, he recognized the potential for tremendous impact.
We spend a tremendous amount of time on email,” Vohra observes. “Despite the rise of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, professionals still dedicate an average of 3 hours a day to their inboxes, amounting to a staggering trillion hours annually. I saw this as an opportunity to solve a colossal problem, right under our noses.”
The Journey to Product-Market Fit
Building Superhuman was no easy feat, and Vohra candidly shares the challenges he faced, especially in achieving product-market fit. He explains that while it is the holy grail for startups, the point at which a product perfectly aligns with the needs and demands of its target market is also the defining factor between success and failure in the startup world.
In the early days of Superhuman, Vohra experienced intense pressure to launch the product quickly, driven by his previous success with a fast-scaling startup. However, he knew that rushing a half-baked product to the market would be detrimental.
He elaborates, “I felt this incredible pressure to launch, but I also knew that if we did, it would go very badly. I couldn’t just convey this to the team, who had invested their hearts and souls into the product. I needed a plan.”
Drawing from his experience from past challenges, Vohra set out to create a framework to measure and enhance product-market fit.
I spoke to all the experts and read everything I could find and what I found was a way to define product-market fit, a metric to measure product-market fit and even a methodology to systematically increase product market fit—which I know sounds crazy.”
Vohra devised the Superhuman Product-Market Fit engine, a methodology that would prove instrumental in transforming Superhuman from a product without fit to one that captivated users.
This breakthrough in product-market fit has had a profound impact not only on Superhuman but also on countless other startups. Vohra’s article titled “The Superhuman Product-Market Fit Engine,” has become the standard reference for measuring product-market fit and has helped hundreds of companies navigate the critical early stages of their journey.
Generative AI: The Future of Work Unveiled
As technology advances, it opens new possibilities that once seemed like, as Vohra remarks, “science fiction” but he is a firm believer in the transformative power of Generative AI. He sees it as a driving force behind the next great transformation in how we work, comparable to the impact of smartphones and the Internet.
Generative AI, specifically large language models, will change everything about how we operate and communicate,” Vohra asserts. “These models have the ability to understand natural language nuances better than we can, ourselves.”
Superhuman has already embraced generative AI, incorporated it into their email client to empower users with enhanced productivity. The AI enables users to write, edit, research, translate, and summarize with remarkable efficiency. Moreover, it allows users to generate fully formed, eloquent emails in their own voice and tone, a feat that seemed unimaginable not long ago. Vohra acknowledges they are merely at the beginning of this transformative journey.
Remember, this technology has only been what I would call ‘tech popular,’ meaning all the companies have been integrating it since perhaps early this year. So, we’re only four months into this journey. Obviously large language models have been worked on for much longer than that, but in terms of their integration into the fabric of our software, we’re in the earliest days.”
Vohra predicts that by the end of the year, the company will witness groundbreaking advancements that will reshape how we work, collaborate, and communicate.
Fueling Growth for Others
Vohra’s passion for empowering startups goes beyond Superhuman. He has actively contributed to the tech community by investing in over 100 companies, totaling more than $35 million in investments. His involvement as an angel investor is fueled by a dual mission – to give back to the entrepreneurial community and to stay connected with the ever-evolving landscape of technology.
I have a lot of hard-won battle scars, operational lessons, and insights from my experience in growing Superhuman and my previous company,” Vohra explains. “I want to help the next generation of founders avoid the mistakes I made early in my career and create better businesses.”
While Vohra focuses primarily on the operations of Superhuman, his co-General Partner, Todd Goldberg dedicates himself fully to investing. This allows Vohra to remain informed and inspired by the innovative ideas and products emerging from the next generation of founders.
A Future Defined by Innovation
For Vohra it is evident that his journey with Superhuman has been more than just a quest for email perfection. It has become a mission to liberate valuable time, empower productivity, and redefine how we connect in an increasingly digital world.
From conquering the challenges of product-market fit to helping guide aspiring founders, Vohra’s contributions to the tech community have left an indelible mark. His vision for the future of work, driven by Generative AI, promises an era of unprecedented innovation and efficiency.
One of the most inspirational things is seeing what kind of companies, features, products and ideas the next generation of founders are working on because then that just gets your brain going. It keeps you inspired, keeps you optimistic about the future of technology, and I think it just helps us all create better businesses.”
Article originally featured on Forbes.