Home > Notes > Howie Liu – etacts

Howie Liu – etacts

Howie Liu is the co-founder of Etacts, your relationship-centered communications portal.

Here are the notes.


  • etacts is a personal relationship management application, that helps you keep track of all the people that you care about, it makes sure that you stay in touch with them all
  • it works with Gmail, Firefox, & AT&T, so if you haven’t connected with someone in a long time it notifies you and prompts you to contact them
  • they take security very seriously, all passwords are encrypted and if you choose to delete your account all your previous data is wiped out

Business Model

  • right now everything is free
  • soon they will be launching a premium, paid version for business users

Y Combinator

  • etacts is a Y Combinator backed company
  • Y Combinator is a seed venture firm and program, founded by Paul Graham, that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their startups in return for equity
  • Howie and his co-founder didn’t initially have an idea, so they just applied showing the previous apps that they’d build to show they were good coders

Getting Into Y Combinator

  • 1st step is to apply and exhibit your technical background; you don’t presently need an idea
  • next is, if they like your application, they give you 2 weeks to build a prototype and present it at an in-person interview
  • if they like you and your team, and sense that you all are competent, then you’re in

Why Y Combinator

  • Y Combinator’s Alumni Network: a network of previous and current Y Combinator companies that includes 170+ startups and 300+ founders, to help startups as advisors and with introductions to other advisors, speakers, and mentors; you can bounce ideas off of other founders in the network and get valuable feedback
  • instant credibility: everybody respects Y Combinator backed companies
  • structure: Y Combinator helps you provide structure to your startup
  • presenting the product: Y Combinator has you get your first iteration out quickly and in front of 200+ potential investors
  • market positioning: the founder of Y Combinator has many connections, he can call up any of the large blogs, like TechCrunch, and get the startup featured
  • accountability: Y Combinator keeps you accountable and steadily progressing; 3 months after you product launches they do a Demo Day throughout the network to get you feedback
  • rave reviews: 10/10 founders they contacted about Y Combinator gave positive reviews

Working With Y Combinator

  • Paul Graham is very hands-on with etacts
  • Howie and his team meets with him at least once every two weeks to discuss the user interface, wording on the site, making the site simpler, etc.

Side Notes

  • after they launched on TechCrunch, they got 2,000 sign-ups instantly
  • Howie feels etacts has the opportunity to hit a huge multi-billion dollar market and revolutionize email and communications
  • he feels it can reinvent email

Connect With Howie

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