App developer UpTo is launching a free calendar app on iOS to give users a way to see what’s going on around their lives, not just in them.
The calendar is a small pivot for UpTo, which initially began as an app to integrate social events into existing calendar applications. Now the company has decided that rather than just develop a feature for calendaring, it’s going after the calendar market itself.
“When we originally started we focused less on the calendar… we were focused on the future tense and what’s coming up,” said UpTo chief executive Greg Schwartz. “Initially we were focused on all of this information. We want to give you not just your meetings and appointments, but everything else.”
The team at the Detroit-based company came up with the idea of visualizing the calendar as layers of different events. “We have 10,000 calendars we link to, and you can pinch and expand your calendar and reveal another layer of content based on your interest.”
UpTo works on both Android and iOS, but the company decided to launch on the Apple platform first, because that product is more mature, according to Schwartz.
In all, it took Schwartz six months for UpTo to complete its pivot from a customized events focused application to the current iteration of the calendar app, Schwartz said.
There are several new calendar apps already on the market, with Tempo, Sunrise, and Fantastical all vying for the top spot, but what makes UpTo different is its visualization tool for events that aren’t living on its users’ calendars.
“They’re not actively trying to provide you with all of the other content,” Schwartz said. “This is the calendar to care of fear of missing out and plan accordingly.”
Users enter their own calendar information, but also have the ability to follow calendars based on their location, likes and interests. The company already has a “content network” of calendars that they’re linked to — including sports schedules, music and movie listings, and local concerts.
If there’s an event that’s coming up that a user wants to add to their own calendar, a swipe moves the event from the back layer calendar to the personal one. The calendar also syncs with social media and Google and iCloud calendars while allowing provisioning so people can share events with family, friends and co-workers event-by-event.
“Really [the app] came about because at the conceptual stage I was finding out about things after the fact,” Schwartz said. “It was frustrating to me to have that looking in the rearview mirror concept. The timeline has to go forward in time so we backed into something that was like a calendar.”
The current environment also presented the right time for UpTo to launch the app, he said. “We’re in the middle of this wave where we’re seeing native applications get disrupted,” according to Schwartz. “And we absolutely think this could be a massive business.”
UpTo has raised over $3 million from three midwestern venture investors — Detroit Venture Partners, Ludlow Ventures and Venture Investors. Although the company’s calendar app is free, UpTo expects to generate revenue from local businesses by integrating transactions into the calendar platform and providing affiliate content in underlying calendars.