November 19, 2012
After TechStars, Fetchnotes Stays in Boston

spending the past three months at TechStars Boston, Alex Schiff, cofounder and CEO
of productivity app Fetchnotes has decided to stay put rather
than return to the startup’s roots in Michigan. “You can for sure build a business
anywhere,” he says. “Ann Arbor [where Schiff and his team attended University
of Michigan] is great but for a young company like ours, having access to these
people [in Boston] was really important to us.”

points to the mentors and classmates he met during TechStars as examples of Boston’s
vibrant entrepreneurial community, where discussions on mobile virality and
other topics unfold organically. “You are surrounded by extremely high caliber
entrepreneurs and that causes you to up your game,” he adds.

which uses a Twitter-like interface for to do lists, launched publicly last
April and acquired 8,000 users during its first week after several large tech
blogs covered the launch. “Over half of our active users use it every single
day,” adds Schiff. “That’s engagement you’re really only seeing with sites like
Facebook and Twitter.”

of returning to University of Michigan for his senior year of college, Schiff
decided to focus on Fetchnotes full-time. When he joined TechStars in August,
the app had grown to 19,000 users and now has over 33,000. In addition to
streamlined to do lists, Fetchnotes lets users add hashtags and share
notes with others.

says they’re also experimenting with affiliate programs. “We’re really
capturing the world’s intentions, and our vision is not just to be the place
where you organize that intent but going one step beyond that and actually
helping you get things done,” he adds. “When you need to book your trip to
Florida, we want to help you get that done, so we show you flight information.
When we broker that transaction, we keep a cut of that.”

TechStars behind them, the Fetchnotes team, which includes four full-timers and
several part-timers, is focused on making it easier to share notes with people
outside the platform using existing communication channels like email or text
message. “Say I need to share something with my wife, I can literally put that
on her to do list,” says Schiff. “She can do the same thing if she wants me to
take out the trash or check out music. You drop their username in the note and
it goes to that person. We want to make it really easy and frictionless for you
to use Fetchnotes to communicate with anyone through the channels that people
are already using.” Schiff predicts that this would create a new “opportunity
for virality.”

is also in the process of raising $750,000, a third of which is already

Susan Johnston is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Susan on Twitter (@UrbanMuseWriter) by clicking here.