Meet Rise, a new startup working on a calendar app that is specifically designed for team work. Rise helps you see what you have planned, check what your team is doing right now and, more importantly, schedule meetings that are as convenient as possible for the whole team.
Currently in private beta, Rise raised $3 million from Lachy Groom, Stewart Buttlefield, Adriaan Mol and a long, long list of business angels.
Based on the screenshot above, Rise looks like most calendar apps. But the main differentiating feature is a scheduling engine so that you don’t have to think about the best possible time for your next meeting — no Calendly link needed.
When you create an account, Rise asks you to configure the perfect week — a sort of blueprint for your week. For instance, you may not like meetings in the morning. Conversely, you can create blocks of time that work well for meetings. Rise divides your week into meeting time and focus time.
Once your team is on Rise, you can create a new meeting by opening the command bar and entering information, such as “Meet next week with Sam and Sarah”. The app automatically parses your query and understands that you want to schedule a new meeting with two other team members.
Rise checks availabilities, time blocks and preferences across all attendees. Behind the scenes, there’s a ranking algorithm for each time slot — Rise picks the best-ranked result. The consequence is that team members all get back some much needed time to focus.
The startup wants to use a software-as-a-service approach with monthly subscriptions. Before teams start using Rise, they can connect their accounts with Rise to see how much time they could have saved if they had been using Rise all along.
If Rise manages to convince enough companies to use its calendar, you could imagine some interesting network effects for meetings with people outside of your organization. For instance, Rise could automatically schedule a meeting between two companies that are using Rise at the right time for everyone involved.
As for scheduling meetings with people who aren’t using Rise, there’s no obvious solution here. Calendly is a popular option for busy people who want to share a link with availabilities — Rise is aware that there’s some existing competition on this front.
“There are a couple really obvious things we could add that are also in comparable products, like quickly copying-pasting availability, landing pages for your calendar, etc. But there are also already some brilliant products that offer features just like that where it’s harder to make a truly 10x leap,” Rise co-founder Rick Pastoor told me.
Pastoor also wrote a productivity book called GRIP that has been working well in the Netherlands. He has sold over 75,000 copies of his book. Rise is part of a new wave of calendar startups that have been popping up lately. It’ll compete with Cron, Hera, Amie and others.
Rise thinks it can stand out from the competition with its opinionated approach with time management. “We don’t want to create a cockpit full of knobs and options. We want to help our users and teams to get to what matters most. For that we need some initial input, but actually we’d love to move those out of the way as soon as we can reliably figure that out without having to specify it,” Pastoor said.