Aiming To Become The ‘Valedictorian’ Of Smart Calendar Apps, Tempo Raises $10M

Tempo, the SRI-incubated smart calendar app that launched in February, is announcing that it has raised a $10 million Series A.

The round was led by Relay Ventures and Sierra Ventures. Relay also led Tempo’s (previously unannounced) $2.5 million seed round, and the company’s other seed investors — Mayfield Fund, Horizon Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, SingTel Innov8, Miramar Venture Partners, SRI International, Golden Venture Partners, Seavest Capital Partners, ENIAC Ventures, Gaurav Garg, and Peter Wagner — participated in the Series A, as well.

Relay’s Kevin Talbot, Sierra’s Ben Yu, and SRI’s Norman Winarsky are all joining Tempo’s board of directors.

When founder and CEO Raj Singh discussed the funding with me earlier this week, he reiterated his vision to turn the smart calendar into a platform for a powerful personal assistant app. (That’s one of the reasons why it’s particularly noteworthy that Tempo came out of SRI, which was also the birthplace of the voice-powered personal assistant Siri. Winarsky was a co-founder and board member at Siri.) In other words, because it has access to your schedule, Tempo can push information to you as you need it.

You can already see some of that vision in the current version of the Tempo iOS app, which automatically surfaces things like emails, LinkedIn profiles, and driving directions that are relevant to each meeting, but Singh said there’s more to come.

“We think of ourselves as a big data company, and we’re building our understanding of calendar,” Singh said. He previously suggested that future features would take advantage of Tempo’s understanding of things, such as where you spend money and where you like to eat.

That’s also why Singh argued that Tempo will win out over all the other smart calendar apps that have been emerging, such as Cue and Sunrise (not to mention Google’s product Google Now): “Don’t get me wrong; there are companies that have won purely because of UI, but you’re going to win this game by being the valedictorian and investing in technology in an unprecedented way.”

Naturally, Singh said he plans to spend most of the new money on improving Tempo’s technology. I also asked him if he’s finally going to move out of the SRI offices in Menlo Park, and he admitted that I was bringing up a subject of debate within Tempo’s 15-person team — Singh said he’s personally hesitant to give up all the benefits of working out of SRI.

“There’s me being a miser and loving the SRI hallway, but … you have no idea about all the other benefits to being on this campus,” he said.