Customizable calendar

Vimcal wants to be the smartest calendar app on the block • TechCrunch

Y Combinator-backed company Vimcal thinks creating an event takes too many steps in the current generation of calendar apps. So the company created a calendar app that lets you create and edit events in just a few steps. Today, the startup is releasing its iOS app with integration for Outlook accounts.

The company already has web and desktop clients for Windows and Mac (Intel and M1), as well as a Chrome extension for people who like to check their calendars and schedule their events on the big screen. But so far, Vimcal only supported Google accounts (Google Workspace).

The team made it easier to use the calendar by assigning a keyboard shortcut to almost every action: from creating an event to quickly switching between meetings to see what’s happening in the week. It takes about three to five steps to create an event. The calendar also has a command center, which lets you type phrases like “Lunch meeting with Lisa at 1 p.m. tomorrow” to quickly create an event.

Picture credits: Vimcal

Vimcal also makes it easy to provide time slots for meetings. It offers a more customizable solution to scheduling software like Calendly: you can simply drag available slots onto the calendar, copy and paste them into an email. You can also set fixed time slots for each week with a feature called Personal Links, which is more like Calendly.

One of Vimcal’s handiest features is time travel, which lets you easily compare time zones so you can find a suitable time slot for everyone. And it allows you to add multiple time zones for comparison.

All of these features are available in the new iOS app, which has been in beta since April. But instead of hotkeys, they are optimized for the touch interface. The company created this app with help from its acquisition of Weve Calendar earlier this summer. The new app also lets you send a quick email from the notification screen to email other people if you’re a few minutes late for a meeting.

Picture credits: Vimcal

Vimcal for iOS is a free app, but if you want to use the product on desktop, you’ll need to pay $15 per month or $150 per year. For teams with more than five members, the product costs $120 per year. The company is already working on making Vimcal adaptable for enterprise use with customizable features.

Both the mobile and desktop versions allow you to view your teammates’ calendars, making it easy to select a time for a meeting in any time zone.

The company’s founder and CEO, John Li, first launched the product in January 2020, just before the pandemic and the rise of remote working. Initially, the company onboarded users with a 30-minute call to give an overview of the product – similar to the Superhuman email client – and answer any questions they might have. Li said that in the first year and a half, the team onboarded 10,000 users through calls – some of them doubled as calls from investors. The company always has the option for new customers to schedule a call with the team while trying out the product or purchasing the subscription.

Vimcal has raised $1.9 million to date from investors including Y Combinator, Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal, and Hustle Fund.

“For the next semester, we’re focused on building functionality for teams. So far, we’ve focused on making the external scheduling and self-scheduling experience smooth. Now we want to focus on internal planning for teams and companies. We’re also building apps for iPad and Apple Watch, and later for Android,” Li said on a call with TechCrunch.

The startup, which has a team of nine, also launched a product called Vimcal Maestro for executive assistants earlier this month.

There is a lot of competition in the calendar space. There are legacy players like Google and Outlook with new players like Calendly, Aerotime, Amie and Magical competing for a spot on your calendar. Li says speed and ease of use is Vimcal’s USP.

“We always tell our users that anything you can do in another calendar app, you can do in Vimcal in half or fewer steps. We designed our product to be intuitive and fast said Li.

“When we created our app, we listed every keystroke and every mouse movement you had to perform to do the 10 most important things, like creating an event in a calendar. And then we looked at that list and reduces the number of steps.