WHAT: Take, organize and save short notes by hashtags. Anyone with a feature phone [ limited to the U.S.for now ] as well as a smartphone can text themselves notes, which are synched with the web app.
Ability to share notes with groups or individuals planned. Android app out before end of 2011, iOs app eventually. Will integrate with Google Apps (calendar is top priority), Evernote and Outlook. Founders also plan to release the Fetchnotes API.
LAUNCHERS: Alex Schiff, CEO, and Chase Lee, CTO. Both are full-time students at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
WHY: People still email and text themselves notes for their to-do list and ideas. Evernote can be too clunky/take too much time to set up for jotting down six- to seven-word notes. Feature phone users don't have an easy way to save notes.
WHEN/WHERE: Oct. 1 (private beta) / Ann Arbor, MI.
BACKSTORY: Alex found that he was texting himself ideas so he wouldn't forget them. To test the idea that people needed a simpler way to remember things, back in February he had people literally text him their notes, and he copied them into a Google doc. "People don't like texting their friends their private notes. That's why we had to switch to an actual prototype," he says.
BUSINESS MODEL: Freemium. Prices/levels to be determined, though Chase says they don't want to use numerical caps as a way to make people upgrade. Plans include data product based on hashtag data. For instance, a grocery store could find out which products are being associated with it.
COMPETITION: Evernote, Simplenote, CacheNote and Springpad.
ON EVERNOTE: "Evernote wants to be your virtual brain...that's not really the audience we're going after," says Alex, who says their real competition includes "that native notepad app that comes on different phones and people using their own hacked-together solutions, emailing themselves, texting themselves...Lifehacks are what we're really going up against."
GOAL: "We really want to be broadbased. We want to synch with what you already do so we fit ourselves into your workflow and make your life easier," says Alex.
CUSTOMERS/GROWTH: 318 users. Alex expects 1K by the end of the first week of November.
WHO BACKED IT: Bootstrapped.
RAISING: Not raising. Says Alex, "We're able to iterate on what we need to do pretty fast right now...I don't think we need to take money now, I don't feel like we should -- also because we're students and not planning on dropping out."
ON BEING STUDENTS AND ENTREPRENEURS: Alex and Chase will graduate in May 2013. "Tuesday I had three people tell me I should drop out," says Alex. "They ask me, 'What happens when you have 5K users emailing you and you have too many people to do both?' I'll do what I'm doing now. I'll figure it out. I'm a first-time entrepreneur. That's the ethos, I'll figure it out."
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 10 including co-founders. All are U of M students.
FOR LAUNCH READERS: 100 invites available here:
Once you're logged in to the Web version of Fetchnotes, all your notes appear on the main page, with the list of hashtags in the left-hand column. Click on a hashtag to see only those notes, or use the search function in the top-left corner. Click on the note itself to edit it or delete it.
To add a note, start typing in the bar across the top and click the "+" to add it to your list.
If you want to text in your notes, click the setting icon in the top-right corner. Type in your mobile number [U.S. only right now ] and you will receive a numerical confirmation code that Fetchnotes will then prompt you to submit on the website. When the code is accepted, you can start texting in your notes. Ability to call them in coming soon.
Each time you text in a note, Fetchnote texts you back to confirm that the note was saved to your account.
CONTACTS & LINKS
Email: alex at fetchnotes dot com
Email: chase at fetchnotes dot com