Meet Rise, a new startup working on a calendar app designed specifically for teamwork. Rise helps you see what you have planned, check what your team is doing right now, and most importantly, schedule meetings that are as convenient as possible for the whole team.
Currently in private beta, Rise has raised $3 million from Lachy Groom, Stewart Buttlefield, Adriaan Mol, and a long, long list of business angels.
From the screenshot above, Rise looks like most calendar apps. But the main differentiating feature is a scheduling engine so 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 set up the perfect week – a kind of plan for your week. For example, maybe you don’t like morning meetings. Conversely, you can create time blocks 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 application automatically analyzes your request and understands that you want to schedule a new meeting with two other team members.
Rise checks availability, time slots, and preferences for all attendees. Behind the scenes, there is a ranking algorithm for each time slot – Rise selects the highest ranked result. The consequence is that the team members all recover some time to concentrate.
The startup wants to use a software-as-a-service approach with monthly subscriptions. Before teams start using Rise, they can connect their accounts to Rise to see how much time they could have saved if they had used Rise all along.
If Rise can convince enough companies to use its calendar, you can imagine some interesting network effects for meetings with people outside your organization. For example, Rise could automatically schedule a meeting between two companies that use Rise at the right time for everyone involved.
As for scheduling meetings with people who don’t use Rise, there’s no obvious solution here. Calendly is a popular option for busy people who want to share a link with availability – Rise is aware that there is some competition on this front.
“There are a few really obvious things we could add that are also in comparable products, like fast copy-and-paste availability, your calendar landing pages, etc. But there are also some brilliant products already that offer features like that where it’s harder to do a true 10x jump,” Rise co-founder Rick Pastoor told me.
Pastoor also wrote a book on productivity called GRIP which works 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 popped up lately. It will compete with Cron, Hera, Amie and others.
Rise believes it can stand out from the competition with its savvy approach to time management. “We don’t want to create a cockpit full of buttons and options. We want to help our users and teams get to what matters most. For this we need an initial input, but in fact we would like to eliminate them as soon as we can reliably understand it without having to specify it,” Pastoor said.