Though there certainly are plenty of options for keeping track of calendar appointments with software like Microsoft Outlook and online services like Google Calendar, there hasn’t been a good way to integrate the calendars of different stakeholders across communities, like public schools.
“I remember desperately needing a better education organizational tool when I was in middle school and high school,” Chief Executive Officer Drew Aldrich says. “I was annoyed that there was no effective way to get my friends and family to connect to my calendar intelligently.”
With CalendarFly, teachers can post homework assignment deadlines and test dates to an online community calendar. Administrators can post important events and reminders there. Coaches can submit practice schedules and matches, meets and games. On the other end of distribution, students can add their own appointments. And where it becomes most tangible—Parents are able to view all of the calendars online or on thier mobile device.
Starting in the fall, CalendarFly will launch a pilot with Philadelphia Charter Schools, including about 500 students, 700 parents and another 30 or so faculty members.
“We have a backend system that allows us to plug the whole school in all at the same time. The minute a teacher logs in for the first time, they’re already connected in the right classes with the right students and parents. We can get it up and running in a day,” he says.
Remaining committed to community empowerment, the company offers its product free to schools, teachers, students and parents. It even plans to offer schools a cut of ad revenue sold against the platform.
So, how will CalendarFly stay sustainable? Those ads will be a big part of its revenue, Aldrich says. And the ads will be targetted to users—travel deals can be delivered around week-long school spring break entries. Or the calendar could remind parents that they have an oil change due and offer coupons from local garages.
The company also plans to sell a premium subscription service that allows the calendar to feed to whatever platform its customers want to use, like BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Outlook and Google Calendar.
This isn’t CalendarFly’s first connection to Philly. The crew spent 11 weeks here last summer, working alongside GoodCompany mentors and with other startup entrepreneurs. Aldrich says it was a great experience and that though they are based in New York, contacts in Philadelphia bring him back on a regular basis.
Those contacts in both cities are paying off. Last week, the CalendarFly crew was hand-selected to present their business in Silicon Valley at DEMO, the historic and prestigious event for startups that has served as a launching point for companies like Palm, VMWare, Symantec and Java. After attending, PC Magazine listed Calendarfly in its list of favorite Demo presentations from the Spring session.
“It was an unbelivably exhausing three days. We were there for two reasons. To get the word out and to look for some investment. We have leads on both of those,” Aldrich says.