SigmaOS raises $4 million to build a browser for productivity nerds • TechCrunch

There is no doubt that Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox appeal to the majority of browser users. But despite this dominance, smaller browser companies they are trying to gain a foothold, and even make users pay for features. based in London Sigma OS is one such startup, building a Mac browser for productivity nerds.

The company has raised $4 million in seed funding led by LocalGlobe and participation from Y Combinator, 7percent Ventures, Moonfire Ventures, Shine VC, TrueSight Ventures, Pioneer Fund, and Venture Together. Angel investors such as Cocoa Ventures partner Carmen Alfonso Rico and EightSleep founder Matteo Franceschetti also joined the round.

Along with this, the startup is also releasing SigmaOS 1.0 after being in beta for over a year, with features like collaboration and focus mode.

History

Mahyad Ghassemibouyaghchi, Ali Attar and Saurav Mitra started the company in 2021. Mahyad, who was diagnosed with ADHD, said switching between different tabs and windows in legacy browsers was mentally taxing. So he wanted to build a browser that would allow you to do things from one place.

Image Credits: Sigma OS

“Context switching is very mentally heavy, and having the segmentation that our browser provides and being able to do everything from one place really helps. Our idea is that you focus on doing your best work, while we take care of organizing and focusing you,” she said in a written statement. Shortly after building their first prototype, the team joined Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 cohort.

functionality

At first glance, the browser looks different from Chrome and Safari, as it stores tabs in a vertical format. When you are configuring SigmaOS, it will ask you to create a new workspace or choose a template workspace such as writing, analysis, work chat, development tools, and reading. Workspaces, which are like tab groups or tab folders, are at the core of the SigmaOS experience.

The app thinks of these workspaces as toolboxes where you’ll have a few topic-related tabs open all the time. And you can open some of them on the go.

Image Credits: Sigma OS

The browser treats tabs like email: most tabs are persistent, you can jump between them without closing any, and you can snooze and mark them done (to close them).

To navigate this interface, you can always hit the lazy search bar, which allows you to search for tabs that are currently open within the browser or perform a search. You can also quickly switch a tab to a split screen view if you want to see some information while doing something else like typing.

Image Credits: Sigma OS

With the new release, the company is also introducing a focus mode, which removes all toolbars and expands the current tab view to a full screen mode.

There is also a new collaboration mode available with SigmaOS 1.0, which allows you to share a workspace with friends or co-workers where everyone can see the shared tabs. This is useful when you are working on new ideas with your team or planning a trip with friends. The workspace also has a private tab for you. In particular, Apple introduced a shared tabs feature for Safari this year.

Image Credits: Sigma OS

All of these features and more are easily accessible through numerous shortcuts. However, if your workflow involves only a few tabs, or if you’re not a productivity freak, the number of features and interface navigation can overwhelm you. Even for experienced macOS users, it takes time to get used to the quirks and flows of SigmaOS. In a way, you may need to modify the way you work in a browser so that you can quickly access information.

To ease the transition from Safari and Chrome, the browser allows you to easily import all data, including passwords. The company is also testing compatibility with Chrome extensions as a beta feature. It currently has a built-in extension store with limited apps and allows you to import extensions from Chrome. If they don’t work with SigmaOS, you can quickly point that out to the team to enable support for that.

SigmaOS is based on WebKit and uses SwiftUI for its interface. This allows the browser to allow people to keep multiple tabs “open” without taxing system resources. Mahyad told TechCrunch that many of his users keep hundreds of tabs open in the background.

the road ahead

The free version of the browser gives you three workspaces, split screen functionality, and a built-in ad blocker. Users can pay $10 a month (or $96 a year) to get unlimited workspaces and sync across devices. Teams can pay $15/month (or $144/year) for unlimited shared workspaces.

Mahyad told TechCrunch that the company is focused on bringing more features to the browser and growing in number. He did not specify the number of users, but said that the app has many thousands of users and more than 30% of them are paying customers.

The closest competitor to SigmaOS is probably the Amsterdam-based Stack browser, which raised $2.5 million from Lunar Ventures, Wayra X, Zemu Venture Capital, Peak Capital and Charles Songhurst in July. There’s also The Browser Company, which is building the Arc browser. But while Stack focuses on being a conscious browser, SigmaOS concentrates on catering to startup founders, students, and productivity nerds.

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