UpTo App Reinvents the CalendarBy Kyle Pollock on February 22nd, 2013 /
A couple years ago, Greg Schwartz, Co-Founder and CEO of UpTo, was working at a former office in Birmingham, Michigan and saw on Foursquare that a friend had checked-in at a nearby coffee shop. Excited to see a familiar face, he took the next break from work and walked down to say hello. Unfortunately by the time he had arrived, the friend had already left too.
UpTo wasn’t conceived just then, but in whatever musings Greg had that day it sparked an initiative to talk with colleagues. Greg had reached out to now Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Chris Kaufman. The two had previously worked on a calendar app, but never before with social capabilities.
“We started talking about the idea of social from a future perspective because the check-in is broken. There’s nothing actionable you can do on a Foursquare check-in or Facebook status update. In a way, to solve the problem, we wanted to reinvent the calendar,” said Chris.
UpTo is a future focused social platform that transforms your calendar and simplifies event sharing.
“We wanted to make it easy for people to access things that are already in their calendar, so we don’t have to duplicate any events and we wanted people to find things on UpTo and push it back to their native calendar,” said Chris.
UpTo leverages something that people have built a strong habit in: planning. If we look at habits that people currently do (i.e. using the calendar) and develop a way to make it not only simpler, but more enabling, then you have something special, and that’s UpTo.
To move forward with the project they knew they needed a Technical Co-Founder and iOS developer. After finding David Webber on Twitter, and Mat Piccinato a former colleague, the founding team of four: Greg, Chris, Mat and David, had seen 4 weeks pass by. The team initially wanted to bootstrap, keep their day jobs and work nights and weekends. However, it became clear very quickly that they needed to work on it full time. The team was able to begin a dialogue with Detroit Venture Partners, and eventually received funding after some refinement with UpTo. They have also received funding from Ludlow Ventures and have more than doubled their team while they reside inside Detroit’s Madison Building.
The current state of UpTo shows how much work has been put into discovering the potential of the social platform. There is a lot of action potential for users with events as the base of the platform. Currently there’s about 2,000 public streams ranging from baseball to nascar, movie releases and TV premiers. The platform that’s launching soon is going to allow anyone to create one of those streams. It could be a girl scout troop, fitness club, or high school football schedule, with followers being members of the organization.
“It’s a really great tool for school districts, little league teams, bigger organizations, or really anyone who has events to share, and they want to get them directly into the hands of their customers for free,” said Chris.
The ability to see which friends are attending events together and for anyone to create streams should be coming soon, with features possibly built around geolocation. UpTo would be able to track which events users are attending, making it easier to find trends in behavior or interests. Perhaps data tracking and finding trends is the stage we find everything in right now, while people are constantly using apps and devices to connect with people, places or things with each incident stored.
Asked about the future hopes with UpTo, Chris said they want it to be the de facto place for people to go and discover new things, plan events, and share what they’re doing. He mentioned they would love to be a replacement for the calendar. One thing is certain that mobile is increasingly becoming the primary go to device and is a 24/7 experience, since people always carry them. The web version has been built for UpTo, but they build for a mobile first platform.
While Chris and the rest of the UpTo team opted out of keeping their day jobs and working nearly 24/7 they do agree it becomes your life: “You have to have the passion, you have to have the drive, and it is a lot more work than anyone ever anticipates, but it’s great building something that you hope is going to be amazing. You learn a lot long the way and it is a lot of sleepless nights, stress, and it takes a toll on your family, but ultimately I think it pays off.”