Netherlands-based Bread & Pepper is a three-person app-building startup that has so far worked for other companies. When it came time to create the first app it owns entirely, Invy, the founding team of Petar Radošević, Joeri Djojosoeparto and Wouter de Bres decided to tackle something they identified as a pain point for themselves: scheduling meetings.
To be sure, it’s something other online tools have tried to answer. Montreal-based Tungle.me, acquired by RIM in 2011, provides online scheduling via email and a variety of online calendars to help work out conflicts among attendees, and Google Calendar even offers native meeting request capabilities. But just because solutions exist, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best ones possible. Radošević told us in an interview that he and his co-founders thought that while these services address different parts of the problem, none really provides the simplest possible experience, which is what Bread & Pepper was looking for.
“We wanted to build something we wanted to use ourselves and noticed that a simple thing like scheduling a meetup with your friends was still to difficult these days,” he said. “Everybody has a busy schedule and you would wind up emailing back and forth and keeping track who can go on which date. Sending an invitation shouldn’t take more than a minute. I think we succeeded in solving this problem with Invy. No need to signup, a few clicks and you are done.”
Invy uses a stylish, streamlined interface that asks just the basics. To get started, a user simply enters their email address and then creates an event with a title and location. Then, they specify possible dates and add recipients from their phone’s address book. The app sends out email requests to those invitees, asking them which time(s) work for them, and those invitees then reply with their choice via email, without having to sign up or install anything on their own end. Once all the votes are in, event creators just pick a time and the event is added to their iPhones calendar, and mailed to all the invitees along with an .ics calendar file attachment.
The simplicity is something that’s reminiscent of the philosophy behind recent productivity tools like Screenleap and Crocodoc, and also of iPhone app Clear. Radošević said that the company applied the same principles that went into the creation of those tools. “We love apps that are simple and believe that you must weigh every feature that you put in your app and ask ‘Does it serve the main goal of your application?’,” he said. “That’s also what we like about Clear, it’s a to-do app, nothing more, nothing less. That’s also what Invy is, the best way to schedule an event.”
For now, Radošević said that Invy is designed to be used by the average user; it only integrates with iCal and Google Calendar currently, and since it pursues simplicity above all else, it doesn’t have many of the advanced features enterprise users might want. Still, Radošević says Outlook support is on the way, noting that this should “cater to the business user.”
While Invy is iPhone-only for now, Radošević said that a native Android app is on the way, and shouldn’t take long since “the architecture in place to do so.” The team is charging $1.99 for the app, and has financed its development through bootstrapped funding efforts. As yet another example of an effort to create extremely simple single-focus software for mobile devices, Invy could be at the forefront of a new wave of apps that straddle the line between consumer and business users, and restrict features in favor of doing one thing very well.