Despite countless attempts and millions in venture capital, the calendar, one of the most ubiquitous work tools, has remained largely unchanged for as long as I can remember. Rather than overwrite the calendar in an effort to make it obsolete, Ahryun Moon, Jasper Sone and Peter Lee, co-founders of GoodTime, are putting the calendar front and center — embracing it as a means of understanding people.
With $2 million from a seed financing round led by Big Basin Capital and Walden Venture Capital, GoodTime’s big vision is manifesting itself initially as an HR tool. With a dash of natural language processing, GoodTime is helping recruiting teams match job applicants with the right interviewers.
In competitive hiring environments, appropriately pairing a top candidate with an interviewer sharing prior work experience or university affiliation might be the difference maker in convincing that person to take the job. Of course, this idea isn’t new; recruiters typically spend significant portions of their time manually checking calendars to coordinate schedules and matchmake.
“I met a recruiter from CoinBase who spends half her day scheduling interviews,” Moon told me.
GoodTime integrates with applicant tracking systems to obtain information on candidates. This data is then paired with basic details about current employees. This information isn’t particularly hard to extract, but it does come from myriad unexpected places — spreadsheets, assorted documents and the like.
“Often in AI, people think about machines replicating what a human would be doing,” Sone said of others in the ecosystem taking a more bot-centric approach. “We found out that even though that’s a cool application, candidates don’t want to spend more time going back and forth.”
All of this is helpful and it saves recruiters loads of time, but it’s only a small part of GoodTime’s vision. The other half of the problem is digging through calendars to differentiate critical meetings from junk reminders and other unimportant calendar items.
We all are guilty of filling in our calendars in such a way that they only make sense to us. Email reminders get placed next to eclipse reminders and we block off time for optional all-hands conference calls even when we have no intention of attending.
Unfortunately, this makes it really hard for a machine to automatically schedule and optimize interviews. So the team is working on adding functionality that will interpret the importance of calendar items. With a human in the loop, GoodTime would be able to bump an important interview above a birthday reminder by classifying events into categories.
GoodTime has managed to rack up a number of early users. Airbnb is paying to use the platform to coordinate its engineering interviews. The company also has found product market fit working with Stripe, Thumbtack and others. Some of these use cases have involved helping to diversify interview panels as well.
And beyond just HR, the team sees potential in the calendar as a means of helping people optimize their days. The startup is looking to make some key hires in sales and engineering, particularly around machine learning.