Mobile Calendar app Sunrise announced on their blog that they have raised $2.2M from a slew of VCs(Resoluto, NextView, Lerer, etc.) and Angels (Dave Morin, Hunter Walk, Loic Le Meur, etc.). Founded by Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, this round of investment validates the praise the currently iOS-only app has been getting as the first viable alternative to the default calendar.
“We want to reinvent the calendar from the ground up” Sunrise cofounder Pierre Valade said during his talk at UXD4Startups earlier this year in Paris – and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Whether it’s their modified half-monthly, half-daily default view that allows you to scroll through the month or pick a specific day, their all too logical integration with Google Maps, or the opt-in 7AM email with your day schedule, the app is making managing the day’s activities easier, one feature at a time.
One of their most enjoyable features is the “last minute who the hell am I meeting with again?” feature, which pulls multiple social profiles of anyone you have indicated you are meeting with in your calendar, and creates a mini profile (with photo, thank god) of that person. This has easily replaced my last-minute Google image search when I’m walking up to a meeting.
There’s still a bit of work and quite a few bugs to be worked out, including syncing issues between Google Calendar and the app when updating the location of an event; however, the overall direction is promising, and it has quickly become one of my 4 default bottom-row apps on my iPhone. Personally, I’d love to have the app automatically detect when I have back-to-back meetings and calculate the amount of time it would take to get from one location to the other (and perhaps a warning in the morning when I’ve overbooked myself).
The startup’s large round of fundraising may suggest that there is a business model to be had in knowing what millions of people are doing daily; however, it may just indicate that successful beautiful apps – like Mailbox, Sparrow, or even the recent Folders – have a steady record of acquisitions by companies ready to acqui-hire or build a business model around the existing userbase.
For now, it seems like the two founders are focused on building a great app, and business model or not, that’s a win-win for everyone.