Calendar app Tempo cuts its wait list, expands to Canada

The startup says its wait list is finally nearly at zero, so it's decided to head north. It's also working on a more intuitive version of the app that can anticipate your future moves.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
3 min read
Tempo AI

Having healthy demand for your product is ideal, but Raj Singh, the CEO behind popular calendar app Tempo, knows that it's not good to keep people waiting in line too long.

That's why starting today, people will get access to Tempo twice as fast, Singh told CNET. "The goal is we want to get rid of the line. We know nobody likes lines," he said, adding that there are a few thousand people left on the wait list.

And although Tempo, the iOS app that had thousands waiting to use it at launch, isn't done providing access to everyone in the U.S. line, it's also opened up the cue for Canadian users today.

The app integrates relevant information into your calendar, including adding the contacts and related files to scheduled meetings. So if you schedule a meeting with so-and-so, then that person's contact information will show up on the created event along with any documents you may need to reference.

The app will also pull up directions to meeting locations, and with one tap, dial conference call numbers and access codes -- or if you're running late, send late messages to the people at the meeting.

Tempo's promo video, featuring a class show-and-tell scenario, describes the app as a virtual personal assistant, and includes a mini Steve Jobs -- black turtleneck and all -- saying, "Hmm, I haven't thought of that."

When Tempo launched in February, it wasn't prepared for the onslaught of iOS users who wanted to sign up for the productivity app. It closed down its signups and then started letting people in little by little.

"We estimated five or 10,000 downloads, but we blew that on the first day," Singh said. Singh's company, Tempo AI, comes from SRI International, the same place that created Apple's Siri. He said the company is now ready to take on more users -- folks will have to wait a few days to get access to Tempo instead of a few weeks.

To speed things along for some, Tempo is also offering to fast track the first 500 CNET readers to the front of the line. Just register with the promo code "CNET500" at www.tempo.ai/promo-fasttrack.

Singh said the response so far has been promising. The company won't release the number of active daily users Tempo has, but he said there is enough data to prove that people are replacing their default calenders with it. Most users check the calendar first thing in the morning and don't use it as much on the weekends. Daily users are checking their Tempo app five times a day on average, Singh said. And 85 percent of users are connecting the app to their e-mail account.

The company has big plans moving forward. While it wants everyone who wants access to get it in a timely manner, it is also focused on expanding globally. In order to do that, Tempo will have to learn the nuances of language for each country, like common nicknames for places and postal codes. In addition, Singh said his company is working on a more intuitive Tempo, one that learns from your past appointments and picks up on your habits so it can anticipate your future moves.

"If you grab coffee at the same time every week, and you don't schedule it one week, it will wonder why and ask you, 'did you forget?'" he said.

Singh thinks that's what will set Tempo apart from other digital calenders, but he knows the app won't be alone in this space for long. He pointed to big names such as Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Apple -- the ones with access to big data -- as competitors.

But he said he's not worried.

"In many ways, I'm not concerned because any kind of experience they deliver will be fantastic, but within their ecosystem," he said. "The benefit of a startup is we are able to connect the data across all the systems."