Ex-Foursquare Designers Focus On Sunrise, Want You To Do More With Your Calendar

Two of the team of eight designers at Foursquare have recently left to focus on Sunrise, a calendar product to do more with your calendar, with data from Google Calendar, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. They currently offer a daily email and are actively working on the next version. According to them, the calendar can be a very powerful tool and nobody has figured it out yet.

“Calendar apps today are mostly broken as they don’t show you useful information, even though you spend a lot of time adding items every day,” UX designer and developer Pierre Valade said in an interview. “That’s why we first created a daily email combining all the information available on Google Calendar, Facebook, LinkedIn and Eventbrite, and presenting it in a compelling way,” he continued.

It first started out as a side project while working at Foursquare. “When we saw that our email was getting traction without much press, we started thinking about working full time on Sunrise,” Valade said. Even though they already have 10,000 users, the most impressive part is that 50 percent of them open the email every day.

They focused a lot on the user experience and design, with Jeremy Le Van handling design and Valade development. Thanks to attention to little details, the daily email is surprisingly useful. For example, with one tap, you can send an email to the person you are having lunch with — and it will prepopulate all the information as a reminder. LinkedIn job titles and profile pictures appear inline, much like Facebook profile pictures in email client Sparrow.

Everything is optimized for a smartphone screen, with a little sun emoji appearing in the title of the email to find it easily in your inbox. Sunrise manages to hand out a lot of information without being a burden to the user.

The New York-based team didn’t receive any funding yet. Sparrow and social nostalgia app Timehop are two of their inspirations and might give a hint of what they could do next. They want to be the team that solves the calendar problem that everyone is experiencing.