TimeBridge, one of the many startups that wants to help you schedule meetings, is now making it even easier to coordinate those meetings within a company, team, or other group. In fact, TimeBridge says it’s the first web scheduling service to add a “group” feature.
Chief executive Yori Nelken says the new feature was based on user activity and demand. People were trying to form groups anyway, so TimeBridge decided “to just build it into the product.” You could already share your availability and discuss meeting times with other TimeBridge users, but now the service automatically shares your availability with your group and lets you discuss meetings within the entire group. This seems like a minor improvement, but by automating another part of the scheduling process, it builds on TimeBrige’s biggest strength — simplicity. The end result is that when you set up a meeting, you should deal with far fewer emails flying back and forth.
There are side benefits too. For one thing, if you’re working remotely, a person’s meeting schedule can be a better guide to their “presence” than whether or not they’re logged into a a chat program. It’s pretty much inevitable that once a day, I’ll have to tell a fellow VentureBeat writer on GChat that no, I can’t edit their story right now, because I’m busy on a phone call or in a meeting. Also, since TimeBridge integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Apple’s iCal, different team members can use different calendaring services and still coordinate.
Before this announcement, Nelken says there were three “legs” to the San Francisco startup’s product: sharing your availability, setting up meetings (including a time broker that lets you offer multiple appointments to multiple contacts on a first-come, first-served basis), and aiding those meetings with conference calling and web meetings. The first two features prompted VentureBeat writer Chris Morrison to say TimeBridge “shines with simplicity,” while the third is the company’s main source of revenue. (It plans to charge for web meetings and premium conference services.) The groups feature adds a fourth leg to the product.
Aside from a dip in December (when business slows for the holidays), TimeBridge has continued growing, Nelken adds. After all, it’s a tool that makes people more efficient with limited resources. Alas, Nelken couldn’t say whether TimeBridge has ever replaced a living, breathing personal assistant.
When we last covered TimeBridge, it had raised a $6 million first round of funding. Nelken says the company has raised another round since then but hasn’t announced the amount yet. Competitors include Tungle and Presdo.
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