With the population captivated by modern forms of communication such as WhatsApp, SnapChat and Facebook Messenger, Jacques ‘Jack’ Abrams couldn’t help but feel that the world was becoming too instant.

The company founder Jacques Abrams missed that feeling of anticipation, so they decided to start a new chat platform. One which could offer its users the ability to determine when a delivered message could be opened, bringing the excitement back to communication. Enter Jack. We spoke to Jack CEO Michel Tombroff to find out more.

Tell us about the Jack offering

Jack is a messaging app that allows a user to send text, photo and/or video (“Jacks”) and decide when it can be opened and read. While a Jack is delivered instantly, the recipient has to wait before the Jack can be seen.

The time delay between the period that the recipient is notified and the moment they can open the message creates a sense of excitement and anticipation between users, in the way that instant messaging platforms do not.

Our goal is to help people rediscover the pleasure of time, the pleasure of waiting, and to become the leading platform for time-based messaging that gives everyone the power to specify the date and time a message can be opened by the recipient. Enabling everyone to say the things that matter, at the right time.

And where are you based?

Jack is based in Lasne (Brussels), Belgium.

Tell us who you believe your target audience to be

Jack is for everyone. Our mission is to make the anticipation of time discoverable again. Jack is an app for people that want to say the things that matter, at the right time.

As there are so many other messaging platforms out there, why do you think Jack’s unique feature is so special?

Jack is a totally new form of communication. Messaging platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are designed for instantaneous interaction, whereas Jack is unique as it immediately notifies a recipient of a new message but delays the moment – anytime from one hour to days, weeks or years later – that the message is revealed.

This delay between the period the recipient is notified and the moment they can open the message creates a sense of excitement and anticipation between users, that traditional messaging platforms do not.  Jack triggers the same emotional elation that people experience when they receive a wrapped gift on their birthday or anniversary but they have to wait to open it.

jack messaging app

And how long have you been working on this project? Where is it at present?

Jack was founded in January 2015 by Jacques ‘Jack’ Abrams. Jack was then joined by a group of senior and talented developers, led by Edwin Hermans CTO. The app was launched in September 2015.

In late 2015, I met Jack Abrams and immediately felt drawn to the messaging application and the opportunity to bring a new way of communication to the world. Then at the beginning of 2016 I was appointed CEO.

How is the project being funded?

Jack is funded privately by founder, management, friends and family – the amount of which is undisclosed. As a growing business, we are currently raising the next round of investment.  

And how did the idea for Jack come about? 

Jack was created when its founder Jack Abrams decided that a new way of communication, outside of instant messaging, was needed. A service that goes against the trend and allows people to communicate without the instant pressure that we’ve all become accustomed to.

Enabling people to say the things that matter, at the right time, to use messaging as a way of emotionally connecting to one another, and to rediscover the pleasure of waiting.

Can you tell us bit about your background?

Prior to joining Jack, I was the CEO of Softkinetic, a leading 3D vision technology company acquired by Sony Corporation in October 2015. I also served as Vice President of Business Development at TIBCO Software Inc. for eight years.

I bring to Jack many years of experience working in the technology sector, where I’ve held
senior engineering and management positions in Silicon Valley, Paris, London and Brussels. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Brussels and Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

My father is a physician (internal medicine) and still works actively, my mother is a trained kinesitherapist but she stopped working when I was born. I also have two younger brothers, who are both engineers. Our parents have always pushed us to work hard and to never stop learning: these are the best remedies to a balanced and spirited life!

Do you have any hobbies that you are passionate about? Do you think that they have an
influence on how you run the business?

Yes, I have two hobbies: kitesurfing, and philosophy of mathematics. Kitesurfing is the best way for me to disconnect from everyday pressures. It is a fantastic sport because it combines nature (sea, wind, beaches) with strength, balance, and agility. When you are on a kitesurf, you forget everything and only focus on the instant. I like to say that it is like skiing, but without the skis … And when there’s no wind for me to kitesurf with, a good book on the philosophy of mathematics is the best way to disconnect.

Can you think of any particular moment or event that sent you and Jacques down this path?

When I met Jack Abrams in late 2015 I was immediately attracted by three aspects of the project: first, the intense passion and talent that Jack and his team are projecting; second, the amazing simplicity of the concept; and third, the strong belief that this could become a major communication platform, on par with the Snapchats and WhatsApps of the world.

Michel_Tombroff jack ceo

Tell us about the most exciting moment to date in the Jack journey

Jack is a very interesting concept, as such it attracts a lot of different people to it. A most inspirational moment for me was a recent meeting with Carl Honore, bestseller author of “In Praise of Slow”. We spent a couple of hours together in London talking about the concept of slow life, and Carl produced a podcast about it. This was a very inspiring encounter.

As a CEO of a exciting tech startup, is there any advice can you offer to somebody considering a startup?

From past experiences I’ve learned that it’s very important to bring on international investors, having support from local investors is important but tapping into the knowledge and network of international investors (Europe, Asia or US) is priceless.

And follow your instinct, do not get distracted by all the nay-sayers. It is your idea, and if you strongly believe in it, go for it. I like to say that when you run a startup company, the glass is half-empty every morning – if you are a true entrepreneur, you need to see the glass half-full.