Make plans easily with your friends on-the-go with SynkMonkey.
Today's featured startup, SynkMonkey, is a free mobile app for the iPhone and Android that makes getting people together as painless as possible.
MoonBall Labs, the parent and guardian of SynkMonkey, was founded in May of 2011. SynkMonkey, a Virginia-based startup, was conceived by two students at UVA’s Darden School of Business and was developed over the course of a summer spent in the Darden Incubator.
SynkMonkey has re-envisioned the mobile calendar invite by combining three essential functions of the phone – Calendar, Maps, Texting – into a single, one-stop application. This unique combination makes scheduling plans with friends, family and colleagues more efficient by reducing a multi-step process to one step. Event invites provide a complete contextual view of the event details, with inclusion of Google Maps and group messaging. Events automatically sync to the user's preferred calendar with instant updates and set reminder alerts. SynkMonkey addresses the limitations of the most popular plan making methods (email, texting, etc.) facilitating and organizing people’s social interactions.
Read our interview with Co-Founder and CEO, Hunter Murchison.
What inspired you to start your company?
After working in more typical corporate jobs, we wanted to try something new and take on this challenge where we could work hard and create something new ourselves. Given the historically low cost of starting a tech business, we felt like this was the perfect time to try it. Importantly, we thought we had also identified a problem in the market that was not being adequately addressed by current technologies. When we first started working on SynkMonkey a year ago, mobile was really starting to gain steam and investors were paying more attention to it, so our strategy felt right.
Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder(s)?
Both myself and my co-founder come from very traditional business backgrounds - I worked in finance in NYC and he worked in management consulting. We were in the same first year section at UVA's Darden School of Business and quickly determined that we were both interested in entrepreneurship. Our company was actually founded at Darden and we were selected to participate in the Darden Incubator after graduation, which funds students to start businesses with some money, office space, mentorship, etc.
What problem does your product or service solve?
While traditional calendars helped us organize our school lives, we wanted a better way to organize our social lives. We have set out to create the easiest, most intuitive way for people to make plans with their friends, family, or colleagues. We are trying to help people save time and be more organized.
Right now, people make plans by sending texts, emails, Facebook messages, and more. They are forced to manage multiple separate conversations across multiple different platforms and then rely on people to keep track of the plan and find out where they are going.
Smartphones are incredible devices, yet many of the features are siloed from one another. With SynkMonkey, we wanted to combine all of the functions of the phone you need to make plans and put them together in one easy to use app. People can save time by managing all of their plans in one location with SynkMonkey.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
Our three biggest challenges are being able to overcome technical challenges quickly enough (and finding the talent to help us do that), consumer marketing and dealing with discoverability issues within the app stores, and raising capital to help accelerate the growth of our company.
How has the Startup America Partnership helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Startup America has helped us with our challenges in many ways. We have been able to get supplemental technical help through discounts offered through the program and we have also gotten some great advice from and made connections with various VCs through the educational series. Finally, Startup America has helped us the spread the word about our company and app to a wider audience, which has been huge.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
We have really enjoyed the education series events and have participated in the pitch coaching sessions as well as the Ask the VC events, which have featured some really well known and insightful VCs. We were also able to take advantage of some Elance credit, which was great for getting some work done on our website.
Why should startups join Startup America?
Starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do, so every entrepreneur should do whatever they can to make that process less hard. By joining Startup America, you are joining a community of people going through the same struggles as yourself while at the same time you are given all of these great offers. Nothing beats saving money, meeting new entrepreneurs, and getting expert advice and networking.
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
The startup culture is definitely up and coming in Virginia and Charlottesville. The University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community are really making a push to encourage all of the local talent to build startups given the vast amount of local resources. There is great research that is starting to get commercialized and more students than ever before are participating in entrepreneurial events.
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