Sleek real-time chat + to do list app Orchestra is announcing its funding this morning, with a just closed $5 million Series A round from Charles River Ventures and SV Angel, in addition to an earlier $500K in seed funding from Kapor Capital and other angel investors.
Orchestra co-founder Gentry Underwood describes the free app as a “texting with a purpose” but also likens it to “a very simple to do list”; “We’ve taken away everything that doesn’t absolutely have to be there.” With the co-founders Underwood and Scott Cannon each having done stints IDEO and Apple, it’s no surprise that Orchestra’s interface is remarkably user-friendly — it seamlessly guides you through the tapping, swiping and shaking gestures needed to navigate upon first download. In the same “frictionless” spirit, the app also syncs automatically to http://www.orchestra.com.
Underwood tells me that biggest differentiator between Orchestra and other to-do list services like OmniFocus is that it is social at its core. Orchestra lets you speak (it’s like the “poor Man’s Siri”) or type in a task and then share it with others within the app or on Twitter and Facebook. Users don’t need an Orchestra account to respond to tasks, and you can even turn emails into Orchestra tasks by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the three weeks since its launch, Orchestra has been iTunes “App of the Week” in every app store worldwide, and was selected by Lifehacker as “Best To-Do App for the iPhone.” Over 1.2 million tasks have been posted, with 1/4 of those assigned to somebody else. Design superstar Jack Dorsey, who has never met or interacted with either co-founder, even tweeted about it.
Underwood plans on using the new funding to bulk up his seven person Palo Alto-based team, and is looking specifically for engineers and product designers. “There’s potential here to build something that’s more a platform than a product,” he says. Android and iPad versions of the app are also in the works.
You can download Orchestra from the App Store here.
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