Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox will no doubt appeal to most browser users. But despite this dominance, small browser companies are trying to carve out space, and even make users pay for features. London-based SigmaOS is one such startup, which is 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 Eight Sleep founder Matteo Franchetti also joined the round.
Along with this, the startup is releasing SigmaOS 1.0 after more than a year in beta, with features like collaboration and focus mode.
Mahyad, who started the company in 2021 by Mahyad Ghasemibuyagchi, Ali Attar and Saurav Mitra, who suffers from ADHD, says that switching between different tabs and windows in legacy browsers is mentally taxing. So he wanted to build a browser that would let you do things from one place.
“Context-switching is very mentally demanding, and having the class our browser offers and being able to do everything from one place helps a lot. Our idea is to keep you organized and focused on your tasks. Shortly after building the first prototype, the team launched Summer 2021 He joined the Y Combinator team.
At first glance, the browser looks different from Chrome and Safari because it stores tabs in a vertical format. When setting up Sigmaos, it prompts you to create a new workspace or select a template workspace such as Writing, Analytics, Workflow, Dev Tools, and Reading. Workspaces – like tab groups or tab folders – are the focal point of the Sigmaos experience.
The application thinks of these workspaces as toolboxes where some tabs related to the theme are always opened. And you can open some on the fly.
The browser treats tabs like email: most tabs are persistent, you can jump between them without closing anything, and snooze and mark them as done (to close).
To move around this interface, you can always hit the lazy search bar, which lets you search or search for the tabs currently open in the browser. If you want to view some information while doing another task, such as typing, you can quickly switch a tab to split-screen view.
With the new release, the company is introducing a focus mode that removes all toolbars and expands the view of the current tab into full-screen mode.
There’s also a new collaboration mode with SigmaOS 1.0, which lets you share a workspace with friends or colleagues where you can all view common tabs. This is useful when brainstorming new ideas with your team or planning a trip with friends. The workspace also has a personal tab for you. In particular, Apple introduced the Shared Tabs feature to Safari this year.
All these features and more are easily accessible through multiple shortcuts. However, if your workflow only involves a few tabs or you’re not a serious productivity geek, the number of features and navigation around the interface can overwhelm you. Even for experienced macOS users, it takes time to get used to the ins and outs of SigmaOS. In some ways, you may need to adjust how you work in a browser to get information faster.
To ease the transition from Safari and Chrome, the browser lets you easily enter all information, including passwords. The company is testing support for Chrome extensions as a beta feature. It currently has a built-in extension store with limited apps, and lets you import extensions from Chrome. If you are not working with SigmaOS, you can quickly suggest to the team to enable support for it.
SigmaOS is built on WebKit and uses SwiftUI for its interface. This browser allows people to keep multiple tabs “open” without overloading the system’s resources. Mahyad told TechCrunch that many of his users have hundreds of them 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 per month (or $96 per year) to get unlimited workspaces and device syncing. Groups can pay $15 per month (or $144 per year) for unlimited annual workspaces.
Maheed told TechCrunch that the company is focused on bringing more features to the browser and growing in numbers. He did not disclose user numbers but said the app has several thousand users and more than 30% of customers are paying customers.
SigmaOS’s closest competitor is probably the Amsterdam-based stack explorer, which raised $2.5 million in July from Moon Ventures, WayraX, Zemu Venture Capital, Peak Capital and Charles Songhurst. There is also a browser company that is developing the Arc browser. But while Stack focuses on being an intuitive browser, Sigmaos focuses on catering to startup founders, students, and productivity nerds.