Encrypted email service Skiff gets acquired, will shut down in six months

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The Skiff email app.
Enlarge / The Skiff email app.

Skiff, an encrypted email and productivity startup, is being acquired and shut down by another productivity suite company, Notion. Skiff users have just six months before their email and all other data are wiped out. If you set up forwarding before the shutdown date, Skiff says it will keep forwarding your email to another service for the next year.

Skiff’s website has been replaced with the purchase notice and a link to a data migration page, which says, “We will be closing down Skiff’s product suite after a 6-month sunset period.” Acquisitions happen all the time, but in this case, there will be no transfer or continuation of service over to Notion. Users will lose their @skiff.com email address and all data will be deleted, so export your mail soon. Skiff has export services available at https://app.skiff.com/dashboard/?settingTab=export.

Losing your email address can be a nightmare, as it can feel almost impossible to chase down every service you’ve tied to your account. Based on the pile of posts inundating Skiff’s account on X, Skiff users seem pretty upset by the move. The main page of skiff.com doesn’t even mention the impending shutdown. A sign-off reads, “We look forward to continuing to serve you,” so it’s easy to assume that the service will keep running.

You only learn about the impending shutdown after scrolling down, clicking the small “migrate your data” link at the bottom of the page, and opening the first FAQ answer. In the fourth paragraph, you finally learn about the six-month warning. Burying the lede under all the self-congratulatory acquisition news makes Skiff users look like a disposable afterthought.

After receiving complaints, Skiff responded by saying, “We deeply apologize for the inconveniences caused,” and the company will now keep email forwarding running “through 2025 for one year going forward.” Skiff was a public service for just two years and had 2 million users; it was seen by some as a growing competitor to services like Proton Mail. Skiff started at $0 per month but had several premium plans that added more storage, email addresses, and custom domains for $3–$12 per month.

Skiff had raised $14 million from various big-name venture capital investors like Sequoia Capital, Alphabet chairman John Hennessy, and Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. Publicly, the company is committed to users and privacy, but those VCs needed a return on their investment. Notion doesn’t have the privacy focus that Skiff had, so that whole idea seems dead.

Notion started as a note-taking app that competed with products like Evernote but now seems to be acquiring its way into offering a full-blown productivity suite. The company has a calendar app, a docs app, a wiki editor, an AI chatbot, and project management software. With Skiff, there will now presumably be an email service, putting Notion pretty close to Google Workspace or Office 365.

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