Vladyslav Podoliako, the founder of Belkins and Folderly: “phishing attacks and social engineering are major threats that can compromise email security”

The advent of AI across all communication sectors has had a definite impact on email security. AI can be used by cybercriminals to automate attacks. Without a supportive email tool, businesses may feel the impact more readily than before.

When companies fail to protect their email communications, it can lead to phishing scams and email-based cyberattacks. The constant changes to AI make it challenging for businesses to keep their digital communication methods fully secure. Even with the best VPN or antivirus software, emails are still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Organizations can now use AI-based email solutions to combat these vulnerabilities.

To learn more about why securing email is so important, we spoke with Vladyslav Podoliako, founder and CEO of Belkins and Folderly – an AI-based email solution platform designed to maintain email deliverability and increase email marketing performance.

Can you tell us a little about Folderly and what inspired its creation? What has stood out about your journey over the years?

Folderly launched in 2019 and is still a youngster. It all began when Folderly’s parent company, Belkins, encountered a problem that compromised their B2B lead generation service.

There was an unexpected drop in Belkins’s email open rates from 60-80% to 10%. It was critical for the team. The company helps businesses get leads through cold email outreach. The problem is, cold emails have a higher chance of landing in the spam folder. Or, they even get banned by an ESP if it's not properly set up.

“I’ve started digging into what was going on. I discovered there were lots of tech details one needed to configure before sending emails — domain settings, protocols, DNS records, etc. The question was how to avoid the same pitfall in the future. So I summoned a team to resolve those issues and think of possible automation. You see the result: we trained AI and launched a new product.”

– Vladyslav Podoliako, Belkins, and Folderly Founder

In the first 9 months, Folderly reached $1.5M ARR and is now used by 150+ American companies.

Tell us more about what you do. How does Folderly help businesses maintain email deliverability and prevent emails from landing in spam folders?

51% of business emails never reach the recipient's inbox folder. That has a significant impact on businesses. It reduces reach, engagement, and conversions. It's also damaging the sender's reputation and wasting valuable time and resources.

Folderly is an AI-based email solution platform. It's designed for maintaining email deliverability and increasing email marketing performance. We established ourselves as a strong proponent in the industry as we help businesses achieve over 50%-70% email open rate. This makes email marketing efforts more worthwhile and effective.

When a business signs up for Folderly, they connect its email account, and the AI begins analyzing its email performance metrics. That includes sender reputation, bounce rates, and spam complaints. Based on this analysis, the platform provides suggestions for improvements and optimization. On top of that, the result of each client is backed by our Customer Success Team. This ensures that the platform operates at its best and follows all the best practices.

Folderly also provides a range of email testing tools to ensure that emails are being delivered as expected. The platform tests emails across a range of email clients, devices, and spam filters. It identifies any potential issues that could cause emails to get flagged as spam.

Businesses using Folderly can improve their email deliverability rates and increase their open rates. Ultimately, businesses can achieve greater success with their email marketing campaigns.

How does Folderly integrate with existing email marketing tools and platforms? What advancements do you see in AI technology that could further improve the effectiveness of email deliverability tools like Folderly?

Folderly built a solution that includes integration with major Email Service Providers (ESP). That includes Google (Gmail), Microsoft (Outlook, Exchange), Apple, and any custom ESP. It assists in helping to understand your Sender Score, domain, and mailbox health. Folderly works on top of your email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp, Marketo, and Klaviyo. It works with cold email outreach tools, such as Salesloft, Reply, Gong, and many others.

AI technology is rapidly evolving. There are potential areas where it could improve email deliverability tools like Folderly. One area is in the use of natural language processing (NLP). NLP AI helps to better understand the content of emails and how it might impact deliverability. Another area is the use of machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can predict which emails are more likely to get flagged as spam. It will share how to optimize them for better delivery rates. We believe AI technology will continue to play a key role in improving email deliverability and making email marketing more effective.

We do steer clear of "hype" integrations, as in the case of Open.ai's Chat GPT. It has been adopted by a huge number of startups lately. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is safety. User safety is built into Folderly's DNA. It's one of its core values, so we will never put in place solutions that question this issue. The only way is to create your own AI.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work? Were there any new challenges you had to adapt to?

The pace is faster than ever, but the email deliverability market is constantly evolving. We are always prepared to quickly adapt to any changes. We have to be even more agile and innovative to stay ahead of the competition. We continue to invest in research and development to ensure our solutions remain cutting-edge. We're proud to have maintained our position as a leader in the industry.

The global recession has undoubtedly affected many businesses. Still, email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective ways to reach and engage customers. There's a noticeable increase in demand for our services. It's due to more businesses looking for ways to optimize their marketing efforts and boost their revenue. We have a commitment to helping our clients achieve their goals. We're confident that our solutions will continue to provide value in any economic climate.

As we look to the future, we're thrilled about the potential of AI to enhance our software and team performance. With AI, we can automate repetitive tasks. This frees up our team members to focus on more strategic initiatives. Additionally, AI can help us analyze data quickly and accurately. It allows us to identify and address potential deliverability issues before they become a problem. We believe AI will play a crucial role in the future of email marketing. We aim to stay at the forefront of this technology to deliver the best possible results for our clients.

What are some common misconceptions about email deliverability and security?

One common misconception is that email deliverability and security are the sole responsibility of the email service provider (ESP). While ESPs do play a role in email deliverability and security, there are many factors that can impact the success of an email campaign. For instance, the quality of the email list, the content of the email, and the sender's reputation. Another misconception is that email security is only about protecting against malware and viruses. In reality, phishing attacks and social engineering are also major threats that can compromise email security.

Do you have any recommendations for everyday users when it comes to security tools and practices?

Here are several best practices users can follow to protect their email security.

  • Using strong and unique passwords for each email account.
  • Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security.
  • Being cautious when opening emails or clicking links from unknown senders.
  • Avoiding sending sensitive information over email.
  • Keeping software and security tools up to date.

How does Folderly ensure email security and protect against phishing and other email-based cyberattacks?

Security is embedded in Folderly Culture. Users’ security stays our priority. We continue working on security enhancements so organizations of any size enjoy an email performance platform that delivers more comprehensive protection.

Folderly takes GDPR, CCPA, and CASL compliances seriously. It has implemented strict measures to ensure user data protection. We may send you service, technical, and other administrative emails. We may send messages and other types of communications. It's to stay compliant with GDPR, CCPA, and CASL laws.

Folderly doesn’t use clients’ mailboxes for email interactions. It doesn’t have access to login data. Users can use Google OAuth to grant access to information without giving passwords. Connecting Gmail mailboxes to Folderly is 100% safe and hassle-free.

On top of that, Folderly provides a range of security features to help protect against phishing and other email-based cyberattacks. These include:

  • Domain and IP monitoring to detect potential threats.
  • DMARC, SPF, and DKIM authentication help prevent spoofing and phishing attacks.
  • Real-time email filtering to detect and block suspicious emails.
  • Phishing simulations and employee training to help users recognize and respond to phishing attempts.

Since the email sector is your main field of focus, how do you think this industry is going to evolve in the upcoming years?

The email industry is always evolving. In the upcoming years, we can expect to see even more advancements in technology. Particularly in AI and machine learning. These advancements will enable email deliverability tools to become even more sophisticated. It will also be more effective in preventing spam. and ensuring that emails get delivered to the right inbox.

We also expect a continued focus on email security and privacy. Especially when more businesses install measures that protect against cyberthreats while keeping their customer's information secure. This will likely lead to an increase in the use of email encryption and other security protocols.

Additionally, we expect to see continued growth in the use of email marketing as a key channel for businesses to reach their customers. More consumers are going to rely on email as a primary means of communication. That means businesses will need to remain competitive by continuing to invest in email marketing strategies.

We believe that the email industry will continue to be a critical channel for businesses in the coming years. We look forward to helping our customers stay ahead of the curve with innovative email deliverability solutions.

And finally, what is next for Folderly?

At Folderly, we constantly seek to push boundaries and embrace cutting-edge technology. Also, fostering a culture of creative approaches and continuous improvement helps to develop effective email solutions for our clients.

As for what's next, we have many exciting plans in the pipeline. One of our top priorities is expanding our integrations with other email marketing tools and platforms. All to make it easier for businesses to use our product. We're exploring new ways to incorporate advanced AI technology into our platform. It's to improve email deliverability even further and to enhance the user experience.

Furthermore, we plan to expand our reach on the national and international stage. Continuing to provide high-quality email deliverability services and unparalleled customer support will help. We also aim to grow our team by hiring top talent in the industry. They can help us achieve our goals and keep pace with the constantly evolving email sector. Ultimately, our goal is to become the go-to email deliverability solution for businesses of all sizes. Our commitment to this includes hard work with constant innovation to make that vision a reality.