There’s a growing number of apps based on the idea of sharing between couples: A few months ago, my colleague Eric Eldon wrote about Pair, which launched out of the latest batch of Y Combinator startups and is kind of like Path for couples. Then there’s Cupple, which also lets users share pictures and places and chart memories over the course of their relationships. The latest entrant into the couple-sharing mobile app space is SimplyUs, which launched on the Apple App Store Friday and aims to make couples happier by adding a little organization into their lives.
While other apps built for couples are primarily built for keeping a private collection of photos and memories, and providing private communication tools, SimplyUs takes a whole different approach: It’s focused on improving couples’ lives by helping them to become more organized together. As a result, its main features are built around joint calendaring and list tools.
The idea is that a little organization goes a long way to improving communication and between couples. That idea comes from co-founder Jonathan James’ background in productivity software — formerly at Microsoft, James worked on early versions of its SharePoint application, and found that while he was incredibly organized at work, at home he and his wife had difficulty coordinating schedules and staying on the same page about things they needed to do together.
The app works by keying into users’ existing calendaring systems, allowing them to update and share items either from within the app or from outside applications — like Google Calendar, for instance — and then syncs up all updates between the couples and their calendars of choice. It also has a list function, which enables couples to add To-Dos, as well as grocery or shopping lists. And, of course, it has a photo-sharing capability. All items can be commented on, letting users annotate calendar items or to-do lists as they add or remove items.
James, whose wife just had a baby, says the app has been instrumental in helping the couple get through the typically stressful process. “I’m more convinced than ever that what we’re building is an incredibly useful tool for couples,” he told me by phone. “It brings them closer together, reduces stress, and increases happiness.”
By doing so, James hopes to keep couples engaged and using the app — something which, as a beta user, I’ve actually found to work. While Pair was fun for a few days before I lost interest, SimplyUs is actually a pretty useful tool that I can see myself continuing to use as time goes on.
But there could be a bigger opportunity here: While their first application was built with couples in mind, James says he could see the startup developing similar mobile tools for other groups, such as families, Social Groups, and Small Business Teams, especially as it adds more employees over time.
The SimplyUs team is made up of James and his co-founder, Herman Chan, who are a part of Toronto-based Extreme Startups’ first Accelerator group. The company is in the process of raising money, with the Extreme Startups demo day less than a month away, on June 19.