🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Dotcal
✍️ Notes from the Editors
This week’s company has upended our meeting scheduling workflow for the better. We’re excited to bring Dotcal’s story to you today. Make sure to read until the end for an exclusive Q&A with the founder and CEO David Matthews.
Also: Dotcal is live on Product Hunt today. We’ve partnered with the team to help get them to the top! If you like what they’re doing, take a moment to support their launch today. 👇
Team scheduling made simple
Dotcal is a meeting schedule suite that puts the user experience first. In addition to the standard scheduling features provided by incumbents like Calendly (such as availability, working hours, calendar integrations, booking pages, and more), Dotcal is building features, or rather “adding superpowers” to team scheduling. This includes the ability to quickly see the availability of anyone you’ve added to your network, as well as a highly customizable booking page to match your brand.
💰 Business Model
Dotcal is available with a freemium SaaS model.
For individuals: Its generous Basic plan, available for free, includes unlimited integrations, unlimited connections, a shared booking page per connection, and more. The individual Plus plan, available for $10 per month or $8 annually, adds unlimited booking pages and customization features like removed branding, custom titles, and custom reminders. The Pro plan includes all this in addition to URL redirects and 24/7 support for $15 per month or $12 per month annually.
For teams: Its free tier adds up to five team members, a team URL, and round-robin-style (any member of the team) booking to the Basic plan for individuals, while the Paid Team plan includes every Pro individual feature and unlimited team members for the price of the Plus plan.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
Raised $1.2 million to date led by Village Global, Soma Capital with contribution from The Pitch and angel investors
Hundreds of teams and over 10,000 users pre-launch
First company to build a scheduling network of users known as the “Dotcal network” that enables users to quickly schedule with people beyond their team or organization
📖 Founder Story
Dotcal founder and CEO David Matthews is no stranger to entrepreneurship. With over ten years of entrepreneurial experience including roles as a CEO, CMO, and COO across companies including the support of Y Combinator, Matthews has diverse experience across many different roles and industries. One constant among all of it? Booking meetings is still a nightmare experience. After experiencing this firsthand, Matthews began to tackle this problem with Dotcal. Learn more in our Q&A with Matthews below.
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🔮 Our Analysis
To bring the coolest future Unicorns to you every week, we constantly find ourselves in meetings. With the two of us juggling individual and team meetings, which may include members outside of Unicorner, combined with busy work and school schedules, Dotcal has become a lifesaver for us. To illustrate this, here’s an example of what Dotcal helps us accomplish:
When we want to book meetings with each other, we can easily view when our schedules overlap and book a meeting. When someone wants to meet with one of us, they can use our Dotcal link to find a time. If we’re both on the call, our shared booking link enables this functionality. And if someone needs to meet with either one of us? Dotcal has us covered there, too. On top of all that, repeat calls are made simple with the Dotcal network. It’s the most seamless scheduling tool we’ve used.
Beyond its functionality, Dotcal has designed a beautiful and customizable interface for booking pages. Given that your booking page is one of the first graphical impressions a client or customer will have, it’s critical that it gets everything just right. For example, here’s what our page looks like. It’s full of personality, and we love it.
We believe Dotcal is a strong companion tool for many people, such as freelancers, salespeople, engineering teams, and many more. With it clearly solving a pain point for us, we’d recommend you give it a try. If you’d like to learn directly from the team, they’ll be responding to supporters on their launch page today.
📚 Further Reading
Highlights and advertisements from our community
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From Unicorner contributor and reader Tom White’s blog — How to Kill a Startup: A Short, Ten Step Guide, On Staggering Incompetence and Remarkable Naïveté
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🎙️ Founder Q&A
David Matthews, Dotcal CEO
U: What can you share about your long-term vision?
DM: We at Dotcal are obsessed with the idea of pushing past the awkward stage of scheduling that exists today. We’ve all experienced the endless back-and-forth emails to book the most basic of meetings. Or accidentally mismanaging time zones and missing meetings altogether. Or the weird power dynamic dance that sometimes happens when sending out a booking page link.
We’re building software to address these issues for teams around the world so we can get to a more efficient – and if we’re lucky, more delightful – way of scheduling for all.
Said another way, what Slack did for team messaging, we hope to do for team scheduling.
U: What led you to Dotcal, and what makes you confident in your ability to become a Unicorn?
DM: My co-founders and I were working together at a growth marketing agency I used to run and living as digital nomads around the world. We found that scheduling with one another was an absolute nightmare because we could never get the time zones correct. After a few months of missed meetings, we began to interview other teams and realized there was a much larger need for better scheduling solutions. So we built Dotcal.
The magic of Dotcal comes from the thousands of mini scheduling networks that exist among the users on our platform. Not only do these networks allow users to connect and schedule instantly with anyone they’re connected with (colleagues, clients, and vendors, for instance), but they also create strong “network effects” which lead to self-sustaining product-led growth for the platform. It’s this last part that could, if we play our cards right, lead us to Unicorn status in the future.
U: What are the biggest challenges you’ve overcome? What were some important lessons these taught you?
DM: By far the biggest challenge we’ve faced is building something completely unique in the scheduling space. We have no playbook to work from so we have to obsessively talking with users to make sure we’re actually solving real problems for them. My biggest takeaway from this experience so far is that sometimes it is best to slow down and make sure the product you’re releasing is solid & stable. The mantra of moving fast and breaking things oftentimes leads to a terrible user experience and high churn rate, especially when people are depending on your software to manage their most precious resource: time.
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