Our investment in Sunrise, and why time matters

Today we're excited to announce our $5m investment in Sunrise.am, the calendar designed to make your life a little easier. Sunrise isn't only about managing your time, it is, perhaps more importantly, also about context.

Like many professions, a big part of our job in venture is time management, and central to that is our calendar. The calendar is both the ultimate to-do list and document of record, detailing the when, where, who and what's next of your life. This has always been important, but is even more so in a world where we expect on-demand, mobile services wherever we are and whatever we are doing. From booking flights and cabs, to finding routes, ordering food or even just receiving relevant messages, the context of where I am, who I'm with and what I'm doing next is key to making these services work better. Yet when we here at Balderton thought through how mobile services work with calendars, we realised that most people are still locked into static and siloed platforms, spread across paper diaries, work computers and personal email accounts.

Which is when we met Sunrise. The Sunrise team have taken a truly special approach to the problem of time management. Their starting position, of creating a beautifully designed yet simple and unified calendar service was developed from a real understanding of the user's problem with the current state of services. The early reviews of the Sunrise app, and the incredible loyalty and retention of their user base, were testament to their ability to understand this. But just as exciting was the shared vision we have on the need for a simple yet smart and integrated calendar that can seamlessly connect with the many other services we rely on in our lives, when and where we need them. Sunrise are building a context layer to make interaction with all other services in our lives more relevant.

The challenge ahead for the Sunrise team is formidable. Creating a service which people rely on daily requires a mastery of both product design and deep user insight. This is even more difficult when you're up against native players on multiple platforms. But in the battle for a place on your homescreen, we have already seen plenty of successes, from What'sApp to Spotify and CityMapper, where a small team of dedicated technologists can build something more relevant to the user than their native competitors, and we have no doubt that the Sunrise team have the ability to achieve this too.

What we've seen coming from the Sunrise product team already has us excited about the future, and with the release of the development platform today, they have given everybody the power to build services which can make organising all of our lives easier, allowing us to do more of the things we want. That is truly valuable.