Media & Entertainment

With Version 2.0, Social Event Planner UpTo Is On A Mission To Reinvent The Mobile Calendar


Since its launch in early 2012, Detroit-based UpTo has been on a mission to re-invent the mobile calendar by giving it a new type of social context. Through its Android and iPhone app, UpTo attempts to go beyond the all-or-nothing sharing of most calendar apps to let you pick and choose who you share your calendar with, while tapping into streams of events from their favorite venues, teams and activities.

Today, the startup is officially launching version 2.0 of its mobile calendar — its biggest upgrade to date — which sees it re-doubling its efforts to bridge the gap between work and play. Today, most of us tend to have one calendar for work and another for personal use, which rarely interact, but UpTo wants to merge the two in a way that is more reflective of the way people actually live their lives — and use their lives.

While our lives are becoming increasingly social and mobile, calendar apps have yet to truly reflect that change, remaining focused on meetings and appointments and on making lateral updates to the same old work-focused calendar, says UpTo co-founder and CEO Greg Schwartz. Instead, UpTo takes a page from Google+ and Path, allowing users to privately connect with friends, family and co-workers.

Users can sync UpTo with most of the native calendar apps they’re already using, like GCal and Outlook, so they don’t have to rebuild a calendar from scratch. But, more importantly, UpTo allows you to add friends from Facebook or from existing contacts and put them into groups they can then share with, adding, removing or editing those groups as they go.

The app also offers Facebook Event integration so that you can quickly view events you’ve already said “yes” to and share them among your groups.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 5.20.51 AMAfter creating a new event or finding one already posted, users can tap the “Share” button and select the group they want to share with, whether that’s through UpTo or through email, Facebook or Twitter. Then, like Mailbox (now part of Dropbox), users can swipe to hide events and curate their social calendar feed, leaving only those that are most relevant.

Once you find something relevant you want to share, you can tag event titles to specify which groups you want to share with, using “#fb” to share on Facebook, for example. Or you can start a conversation with friends, commenting on events and “liking” those already made by your friends and co-workers.

But the real key to UpTo’s new social calendar app is its network. The app now offers more than 5,000 public streams of upcoming events, which users can follow based on their preferences. UpTo now has a platform for local businesses, which allows them to add events or import their existing calendars to share with UpTo users, stream it instantly and add that stream to their website.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 5.21.03 AMFor users, this means that they now have the ability to peruse mobile calendar streams of their favorite local teams, venues, bars or even their children’s soccer club. Once they find events they want to remember, like an upcoming soccer game, they can add it to their calendar or just follow the teams’ stream on UpTo, sharing it with their “soccer group,” for example.

Schwartz says that the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ticketmaster and the state of Michigan are among the local businesses, teams and organizations already sharing their calendars through UpTo.

To fuel the development of its latest version, and help scale its platform among businesses going forward, the startup has added $500K in new funding from Venture Investors, a local early-stage firm, which joins the startup’s existing investors like Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures. The new capital puts the finishing touches on UpTo’s series A round, bringing its total to $2 million.

For hardcore calendar users, UpTo probably isn’t going to replace your go-to work calendar, so don’t expect it to offer the full list of enterprise-y, business-facing features. But, with its newest version, Upto has definitely become a great way to bridge the gap between work and home, manage the overlaps and plan with groups of friends or colleagues and plan activities and events outside of the office.

The more it adds local businesses and integrates TV schedules, local venue schedules and all the critical stuff we want to keep track of, the app could become your go-to meta calendar to manage work, play and everything in between.

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