It’s no secret that Evite sucks. It’s cluttered, it unnecessarily withholds information from email messages in order to drive page hits, and it looks like it hasn’t seen a facelift in about a decade.
The latest company to take on the much-maligned site is Anyvite, a Y Combinator-funded startup that launches today. Anyvite has taken a very streamlined approach to the invite process, requiring a minimal amount of information to get an event setup. And replying to an invite is even easier – you can actually RSVP from the email itself (take that Evite).
One of Anyvite’s most valuable features is its integration with mobile devices. The site features a robust mobile site (http://m.anyvite .com) that makes it easy to create and edit events on the go. Perhaps even more useful is Anyvite’s integration with SMS, which allows users to immediately get updated on a change in plans. You can also send mass SMS messages to anyone else that has been invited to an event, which makes it sort of like a Twitter for groups.
Anyvite president Jeff Morin says that these mobile features are designed to make the site better suited for impromptu get-togethers. You can create general events, like “Friday Bar Night”, and let your invitees discuss the details over SMS and email. Then, once you’ve figured everything out, you can send out an updated invitation with the details. In practice everything worked as advertised – it took less than a minute to create an event and the very web-2.0 interface was easy to navigate. Maybe this will be the site that finally gets people to stop using Evite.
The guys behind Anyvite launched a very similar site called Coordinatr last February (the FAQ section looks cut-and-pasted). Morin says that Coordinatr was primarily used as a technology test with only a few, basic features (it lacked the SMS functionality entirely). Since then the team has gradually improved the site, but after becoming affiliated with Y Combinator they decided to rebrand and relaunch as Anyvite.