Ex-Tungle, Foko employees pivot new startup, Nook, to take on Evernote

With exits to BlackBerry and Workforce, Nook team wants to tackle notetaking.

In early January 2021, former employees of social calendar app Tungle, which was acquired by BlackBerry in 2011, came together to take another stab at the calendar space.

The group launched Nook Technologies after selling their latest startup, Foko Retail, to WorkForce Software in early 2021.

The Nook team has now changed course, turning their focus to an intelligent notetaking app. Recently named CEO Marc Gingras told BetaKit that the startup wants to take on the Evernotes of the world.

“When Stepan Pachikov created Evernote, his goal was to overcome the limitations of human memory.”

Gingras, who is a co-founder of Nook, took on the role of CEO this month after spending the last year as a senior vice president at WorkForce. Prior to Gingras taking over the day-to-day leadership of Nook, the startup was led by co-founder Chad Carlson, who held the title of president.

Gingras was the co-founder and CEO of Tungle. After it was acquired by BlackBerry he served as senior director of handheld applications for a couple of years before he co-founded and served as CEO of Foko Retail.

Nook was launched as a calendar and collaboration platform for individuals, teams, and companies. It offers integrations with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, Zoom, and other applications.

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The calendar app was officially launched in May, with Nook noting that the app was recently awarded ‘Product of the Day’ on Product Hunt. However, as Nook gained users, Gingras says the company started to see other pain points it might be able to address.

In June, the 10-person team started ideating not just how to track meetings, but helping users to centralize their to-do lists. Thus the idea for the notetaking app was born, and the company decided to make that its main focus.

Gingras explained that Nook will continue to offer a calendar app, but with a focus on notetaking. “It’s more of a notetaking application that has a calendar component to it,” said Gingras.

“When Stepan Pachikov created Evernote, his goal was to overcome the limitations of human memory by creating a product that acted as an external brain,” Gingras added. “Twenty years later, we’re inundated with more information than ever before and using more and more apps every day. Archiving and finding information is no longer the problem.”

He explained that the idea comes from the thought that people these days are “scatterbrained,” and being able to centralize to-dos that come in from various messaging systems, apps, etc. is “quite a challenge.”

When asked if Nook decide to shift focus from calendar to notetaking due to the market being heavily dominated by incumbent players like Google and Microsoft, Gingras pushed away the idea. Having seen the calendar space shift from when he launched Tungle in 2009 until now, Gingras said that innovation in the market can be incremental.

“I think that it is a crowded space. There are the incumbents, [and] I do think that the incremental value that you can bring is limited,” he said. “[But], I think there are some bigger problems that you can attack when it comes to helping people live with a scattered brain.”

The current prototype version of the notetaking app is in beta, and available to a select group of users. Nook has a waitlist available on its website. Nook expects to officially launch the app in the fall.

Feature image courtesy of Nook Technologies.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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