I read somewhere that on average it takes two days and seven emails to coordinate a meeting between three people. I’ve experienced that myself, so I believe it.
Biz-e is a free meeting scheduling solution that is highly integrated into Outlook. It competes with web-based systems such as Colorado’s own SetAMeeting. There’s also Timebridge, Tungle, Diarised, TimeToMeet.info, and ipolipo – this space is not new.
Each of these solutions manage the workflow of coordinating a meeting between several people. Biz-e is particularly nice because it reserves all of the possible meeting slots for each the meeting, frees unselected spots automatically after a meeting is finalized, and lets people who don’t have Biz-e installed respond to scheduling requests via the web. And it lives naturally inside of Outlook, as you see here:
Naturally, Biz-e thinks they have a better solution than all of the other guys. They say they’re more focused on the “social engineering” aspects of coordinating a meeting rather than the technical issues. They also think the fact that it’s totally “open” (meaning that you don’t have to install biz-e to participate in the transaction) is a benefit, as well as the fact that it lives within your scheduling application rather than just on the web, which eliminates all sorts of redundant and time wasting operations. Makes sense. This video, while mildly exaggerated and a bit slow to the point, ultimately does a great job of explaining the benefits of Biz-e.
The founders are David Gold (who previously founded ProSavvy which was sold to eWork) and Tony Delollis. They met a while back when they were both executives in different Mobius funded companies.
“Necessity was certainly the mother of invention in the case of biz-e. I was scheduling a conference call with a few people about two years ago and literally took a chain of 15 emails and three days to finalize a time. Then, when we thought we had a time it had taken so long to get to it that one of the participants had scheduled over that time option and now had a conflict. There had to be a better way and I set out to figure that out.” – David Gold, Founder
I took a hard look at Timebridge, and it’s an impressive and well-funded effort that at first glance appears to be serious competition for Biz-e. However, it would seem to me that Timebridge is going to be looking for a very large exit given the amount of money they’ve raised. $8.5M is overkill for just a scheduling application – so I’m going to guess they’ll point their ship at something much more broad pretty quickly.
Biz-e plans to add support for other calendering solutions (currently only Outlook is supported). I haven’t been able to test this extensively myself because there is no Mac support yet, but everyone I’ve talked to who has seems to be raving about it (and no, it’s not just the founders).
Biz-e has been funded by a small group of angel investors and is nearing a close of a new round of investment from additional individual investors. They also have interest from institutional investors and would “be happy to speak with accredited investors.”
You can download Biz-e for free and take it for a spin. Please comment and let us know what you think.