Scheduling Meetings Got You Down? Wanna Tungle?

"Let's meet some time next week -- what times work on your end?" -- overloaded knowledge worker

If this sounds familiar, you’re like many office workers who routinely jump through hoops to set up meetings with individuals outside your company. Emails sent back and forth with dates and times manually entered. Time wasted. Enter Tungle. Tungle is focused on end-user productivity specific to calendaring, and provides a cloud-based add-in for Outlook (with or without Exchange), Google Calendar, and Entourage, with Notes/Domino promised to arrive later in 2009.

Founded in 2006, Montreal-based Tungle has 18 employees and has raised approximately $6.5M so far, with an initial CDN$1.5M seed round by JLA Ventures and Desjardins VC in May 2007, followed by an A Series round of US$5M by Commonwealth, JLA Ventures, and Desjardins VC. Tungle’s solutions are delivered out of a data center based in Montreal.

Tungle users have their calendaring data and address book synchronized to the Tungle data center, with any modifications automatically pushed from the client. Scheduling a meeting requires a simple click of a button, which launches the Tungle Web site and permits population of meeting metadata including subject, location, invitees, and an optional message. Location data is integrated into Google search so it's easy to choose your favorite Starbucks or other hangout in addition to your typical boardroom setting. Users then multiselect times on their calendar (all synched from their messaging client) that work for the meeting, and allow Tungle to select the best time. If recipients are on Tungle, their free/busy information can be checked automatically, while users not on Tungle will have the full range of available options provided, with the ability to select the timeslot that works on their end. No more back and forth trying to find a time that works.

We think Tungle has a good grasp of a market pain and has invested heavily in providing an offering that plays "man-in-the-middle" to normalize iCal traffic through its cloud-based bus to enable true free/busy across organizations. Numerous challenges exist -- for example, complex meetings (recurring meetings with exceptions) have never played well between Notes/Domino and Exchange environments -- and Tungle seems to have accommodated for these in its solution. We believe the biggest challenge Tungle faces will be to convince end users to leave their familiar mail client experience in favor of a new Web-based meeting scheduler. If they can get over that hurdle, Tungle has the potential to follow on the heels of solutions like Plaxo for contact management. As always, the challenge for Tungle will be to convert any viral adoption it achieves into profitability.

Companies using Microsoft Exchange may wish to have a look at Microsoft's recently announced Exchange 2010 beta, which includes the ability to very easily share calendar, presence, and free/busy information across the Internet between federated users. But it will be some time before organizations move to Exchange 2010, and of course not every organization uses Exchange, so we predict Tungle to have sufficient runway to rapidly gain traction in the market.

... David Sengupta

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