Over the past decade, many startups have tried (and many have failed) to rethink the way we schedule our meetings and calls. But we seem to be in a calendrical renaissance, with incumbents like Google and Outlook getting smarter and smarter and newcomers like Calendly growing significantly.
Undock, an Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator-backed startup, is looking to enter the space.
The startup recently closed a $1.6 million seed round with investors that include Lightship Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau, Alumni Ventures Group, Active Capital, Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, Sarah Impach of Paypal/LinkedIn, and several other angel investors.
For now, Undock is a Chrome extension that allows users to seamlessly see mutual availability across a group, whether or not all users in the group have Undock, all from within their email. Founder and CEO Nash Ahmed wouldn’t go into too much detail about the technology that allows Undock to accomplish this. But, on the surface, users who don’t yet have Undock can temporarily link their calendar to the individual meeting request to automatically find times that work for everyone in the group. Otherwise, they can see the suggested times of the rest of the group and mark the ones that work for them.
This is just the beginning of the journey for Undock. The company plans to launch a full-featured calendar in Q1 of 2021, that would include collaborative editing right within calendar events, and embedded video conferencing.
According to Ahmed, the most important differentiating features of Undock are that it focuses on mutual availability (not just singular availability) and that it does so right within the email client.
Scheduling will always be free within Undock, but the full calendar (when it’s released publicly) will have a variety of tiers starting at $10/month per user. Undock will also borrow from the Slack model and charge more for retention of information.
“The greatest challenge is definitely customer education,” said Ahmed, explaining that early on some users were confused by the product’s simplicity. “We messaged it by saying it’s like autocomplete. And early users would get into their email and then ask what to do next, or if they had to go back to Undock or to the Chrome extension. And we’d have to say ‘no, just keep typing.’”
The Undock team, which is Black- and female-founded, numbers 18 people. Twenty-eight percent of the team is female, 22 percent are Black, and 11 percent are LGBTQ, and the diversity of the leadership team is even higher.