Get a load of this: A startup thinks we can be far more productive when we’re “working” on our smartphones.
San Francisco-based Acompli has spent the better part of a year crafting an iPhone application to help people get meetings on the calendar more quickly, easily find the right files to attach to new emails, access threads between key contacts, and send location information in a map.
The system integrates with Google and Microsoft’s widely used tools for storing calendars, files, and contacts. It consults those sources and then produces content like a little box showing time slots available for a meeting.
Investors like Acompli’s work. Today the startup announced $7.3 million in new funding. Redpoint Ventures led the round; Felicis Ventures and Harrison Metal participated as well.
The money comes shortly before the iPhone app becomes available for free. That will happen early in the second quarter of this year, chief executive and cofounder Javier Soltero told VentureBeat in an interview. Soltero wants the software to be a hit among large swaths of people, and simple design is an important factor.
Then, once many people are using the application, Acompli will be able to think about getting businesses to buy software for managing employees’ use of the app, said Soltero, a former chief technology officer of software-as-a-service and application services at VMware and more recently entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint.
Acompli’s work is notable because it’s going after email, which is such a big and obvious piece of the business workflow but has largely been ignored. The startup isn’t trying to track mobile devices across an enterprise or help secure data inside cloud-based software.
Acompli’s software is different because it’s meant for everyone. If things work out Soltero’s way, the app could end up with an adoption pattern resembling a product like Dropbox — but at the same time, it’s designed for eventual adoption across large businesses.
So what if there are no paying customers? Give Acompli time; it’s got an ambitious goal. And the app isn’t available yet. Once it is out, people will be able to determine if it trumps mobile email apps like Boxer, Triage, and Mailbox (which Dropbox acquired last year).
Soltero hopes people will get that Acompli can do more than just set reminders and give the illusion of having all email squared away. He believes it could have the power to diffuse potentially huge issues. So if an employee can be nimble and speedily offer times to talk with an unhappy customer or send important documents, perhaps that could prevent business from going elsewhere.
Acompli started last year, and it now has more than a dozen employees, Soltero said.
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