The following is a post written by our Community Management intern about our upcoming Campus Ambassador program.
Hey there—I’m Michael, the Community Management intern at GroupMe this summer!
Since I’ve been here, we’ve seen some remarkable cases of GroupMe in places that were never imagined. Examples like cancer support groups, neighborhood crime watches, and even tornado relief cases continue to motivate the team daily to keep building GroupMe to be the best it can.
Aside from the often awe-inspiring cases, there’s one place that GroupMe just seems to naturally fit in—the college campus.
Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to use GroupMe at school in many different ways:
Coordinating a team of 20 program directors during an 18-hour dance marathon that raised funds for a local children’s hospital.
Organizing group projects for class and finding those group members when meeting up in the library.
Staying in touch with roommates about buying groceries when someone makes a run to the store.
Communicating with members of the student clubs and organizations that I’m in for quick changes to meeting times and places.
Those are just a few examples of use cases, and we know there are many more out there. That’s why we’re starting a Campus Ambassador program to help bring GroupMe on campus to the next level.
Those selected as Campus Ambassadors will be our representatives on the front line of their campus. They’ll be publicizing GroupMe and helping new users and groups get started in a number of different areas. We’re ready to support those Ambassadors as much as possible - we’ll set up custom web pages, help plan promotions, and provide giveaways. We’ll even throw in lots of exclusive GroupMe swag! #)
We’ll tell you more about the details later. For now, we’re looking for motivated, creative, and passionate college students who understand the power of GroupMe to join us.
What’s more, the Ambassadors that do the best job on their campuses will be offered a paid internship at GroupMe HQ next summer—which, take my word for it, is amazing. Team GroupMe is constantly evolving, and the amount of creativity, skill, humor, and genius here is great.
If you fit the bill, or if you know someone who does, apply now. We can’t wait to meet you. The deadline for applications is July 31st!
The NBA Finals on GroupMe: Almost a Record-Breaker
On Sunday night, we saw a huge traffic spike in groups across the U.S. during the last game of the NBA Finals, peaking during the last hour of the game. In fact, near the end of the game, the count of messages per hour was nearing 3 times average hourly levels. Check out the chart:
(all times EDT)
The spike was so dramatic and pronounced that we nearly assumed it was a record.
A search of our database, though, revealed an even busier hourlong period on a different Sunday night a few weeks prior. On Sunday, May 1, the 11PM EDT hour was even higher, well above 3 times average traffic, and lightyears away from the rest of the pack. So what happened then?
It was the precise hour of President Obama’s press conference announcing the death of Osama bin Laden. Talk about a newsworthy event.
We’re thrilled that people nationwide are using GroupMe to talk about exciting moments in the news as they happen with their closest friends and family, and we look forward to seeing this record broken again and again over the coming months.
This weekend here in New York, hundreds of hackers will participate in the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. That same event was the birthplace of GroupMe last year, so we’re really excited to see what gets made this year. We’ll also be presenting an API workshop and talk today to show attendees how to use GroupMe in their hacks this weekend, and our co-founders will be giving a talk on how to create a viable product in a 24-hour hackathon.
In that spirit, we’re so excited to introduce the GroupMe Client Library today. We’re giving select developers access to a collection of drop-in UI components for Android and iPhone, as well as access to our API. You can bring full GroupMe functionality to your app in minutes—and then customize it however you want from there.
Here’s a quick screenshot tour of what it looks like.
This is a very simple sample app we created just to show what integration of our Client Library could look like. It’s fully customizable, so you’re not confined to what’s seen here, but it’s just a quick example of how easy it is to add GroupMe to any app.
GroupMe tab with introduction to GroupMe. Tap “Start a group…”
Put in your phone number (if already registered with GroupMe, the app is authenticated. if not, we send a PIN to register that number with GroupMe).
Create a group by adding people from contacts or by number or email. Hit done…
And you can view, edit, text, and call the group directly from inside this other app. Tap “Open GroupMe…”
…and you can view the full text of the chat from inside the GroupMe app. If you don’t have the GroupMe app, you’re prompted to install it. Tap the grey “Return to” bar, and you are returned right back to the other app.
Only the groups you’ve created in this other app appear in it… your full list of groups, including any made in third-party apps, will still appear in the GroupMe app.
The Client Library for iOS here, and the SDK for Android is here. Inside you will get a Xcode workspace containing two projects: the actual Client Library and a demo app showing the basic usage of the drop-in UI components and making direct API requests with it. Make sure to read the README.mdown file to guide you through bootstrapping the Client Library in your app. The documentation for the API available to the client libraries can be found here.
You’ll be seeing this library in action in the apps of a few of our brand partners to start, but we’re looking forward to seeing where else it can go. All the repositories are public, but you’ll need an access key to use the API. Request a key here.
We here at GroupMe HQ are big fans of Foursquare, and we’ve heard that a lot of our users love it as well. Today, we’re releasing a fun new feature that integrates the best of Foursquare into the GroupMe experience.
Try it out now: visit groupme.com/foursquare. After you connect your Foursquare account, we make it easy to start a group with the friends that are at or near your latest Foursquare checkin.
Imagine it with us: you’re at a concert and notice on Foursquare that a bunch of your friends are there too. But you don’t know where they are or how to get everyone together. You open up groupme.com/foursquare on your phone, check off all their names, and you’re instantly dropped into a GroupMe. With one text, everyone can plan where to go next.
We’re also open sourcing a lot of the code behind this new feature—check out boy wonder developer Pat Nakajima’s Ruby wrapper for the Foursquare API. It’s named John Mayer, of course.
Pat and our cofounder Steve Martocci will be presenting all this at tomorrow’s Foursquare Hack Day at General Assembly. You know, just a few months ago, GroupMe was born at a hack day here in New York, so contributing to this awesome hacker culture is really important to us.
To recap: start a group with people nearby, check out John Mayer, and come say hi and make cool things at the Foursquare Hack Day. Happy Friday!
It seems like it was just last month that we announced a batch of new hires—oh, wow, it was! Time flies when you’re working hard. Well, we’re back at it again. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce the four newest members of Team GroupMe.
Chris Connolly, a good friend of Jared and Steve’s, started a few weeks ago as our Front-End Engineer and he’s already killing it. He’ll be focusing on usability here, creating beautiful interfaces built on equally beautiful code. He has spent the last few years working in the fashion e-commerce space, and in his free time, manages the website of the band Vampire Weekend.
Geoff Hackett has been hard at work the last few weeks as our Lead Android Developer. He’s been developing for Android since its beginning, and is the creator of the excellent (and useful!) NYC Bus & Subway Maps app, as well as working on Polamalooza and other apps for Densebrain. Under his watch, our Android app is growing up—and it’s on full steam ahead towards the unbelievable 2.0.
Kevin David Crowe starts today as our new Lead Designer. Kevin comes to us from CollegeHumor, where he created beautiful interfaces for their native apps and website and worked on their recent rebranding as Interaction Designer. After he worked on a freelance project with Jared last year, we knew we had to bring him on board. His work is, in a word, awesome, and we can’t wait to see what he does here at GroupMe.
Finally, today is the first day for Tara Cunningham, our new Office Manager! She’s spent the last few years working at MetLife, in many consulting and management roles in cities across the country. Now, she’s jumping headfirst with us into the exciting world of startups. Her skills and drive are unmatched, and we’re excited to have her whipping this office into shape—it’s going to be fun.
With these great new additions, Team GroupMe is thirteen strong. Together, we’re building lots of incredible new things that we’ll be releasing over the coming weeks and months—just wait ‘til you see what we’ve been working on.
Of course, we’re always looking for great new talent to join the team. If you love GroupMe and want to help out, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So there we were, Friday night, at the Crunchie Awards in San Francisco. As you may have heard, we were nominated for two awards—Best Social App and Best New Startup of 2010. Well, we didn’t win either of them, but we’re proud to have been nominated, and really happy for the great group of startups we were up against. You know, we didn’t win the TechCrunch Hackathon we were born at either, but we turned out OK!
Now this is where it gets weird.
The next night, we were relaxing at our hotel when a bunch of people broke in and blindfolded us. We were led to a car, which drove us to a secret location. When we arrived, they removed our blindfolds. All we can say is that it was a gorgeous grotto on the water with a breathtaking view of the city. Really an amazing place.
Our memories of that night, to be honest, are a little fuzzy. We remember a candlelit ceremony, and TechCrunch staffers in robes. Our last memory is sipping ceremonial wine out of ornate goblets.
The next thing we knew, we woke up next to a Crunchie award with our company’s name on it. Check it out:
For what could we have won this mysterious award? It doesn’t indicate the title anywhere.
Our only clues are these mysterious pictures, apparently sent to our “Team GroupMe” GroupMe by founders Jared and Steve during that fateful night.
One depicts TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington giving a backrub to a gorilla, which is holding our Crunchie.
The other depicts our mysterious Crunchie on a beautiful throne.
We’ve been trying to reach the team at TechCrunch all day but their phones are giving us busy signals and they won’t return our emails. Very strange, indeed.
What is going on? Have any other startups won this secret Crunchie? Does anyone know what it’s for? Let us know on Twitter. We’re getting worried.
We just wanted to take a minute to address the brief downtime we experienced on Friday evening that delayed some messages throughout the weekend.
Here’s developer Brandon Keene with an elegant postmortem on the technical side of things:
Our hosting provider, Heroku, fixed a security vulnerability last week. In response a Heroku-affiliated vendor, RedisToGo, changed our password without warning or notification. This caused our Redis connection to them to fail and crashed the app. We didn’t lose any texts, but the site was unavailable for about 30 minutes. In response, we updated our credentials and brought the app back up.
Since this was an emergency deploy, we missed an error caused by a deleted type of delayed job. This missing job crashed our job workers and resulted in texts being queued, but not delivered. Once we realized this, we fixed the error and worked down previously queued jobs. This resulted in texts being sent much later than intended.
We’ve fixed these particular failures and have increased monitoring to ensure we catch and resolve these issues quicker.
In short, we were caught off-guard by one of our providers, the app went down, and once we got it back up, it took longer than it should have for the backlogged texts to be sent. We’re incredibly sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
It’s fixed now, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure it won’t happen again. If you’re having trouble with GroupMe at any point, or have any suggestions or questions, we’d love to talk to you and figure it all out. Just send an email to email@example.com.
By the way, we always send out alerts on our Twitter when we’re experiencing technical issues, so follow us there, and you’ll always be in the loop.
Thanks for your patience and support, and thanks for using GroupMe!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few months, it’s that Android users love Google Voice. Through your emails, tweets, comments on blog posts, and Android Market reviews, you’ve made it known. We hear you loud and clear. Google Voice.
Well, we’ve been working hard, and today, we’re putting out a new version of our amazing Android app. You can use it with any number you have—including, yes, Google Voice. Plus, there are so many more great new features and fixes!
Now, when you start a new group, we put you through the same easy three-stepprocess as on the iPhone, including an option for short-term groups.
First, answer what the group is for…
…then when you want it to end…
…then who will be in it.
You’ve got yourself a group!
And last but not least, we’ve added the ability to resize photos before you share them with your groups. Plus, there are tons of great bug fixes and UI improvements. You’re going to love it.
It’s available now, so check your updates, search for “GroupMe” in the Android Market, or scan this QR code to get started.
Spread the news far and wide: GroupMe is looking for a web designer!
If this sounds like you:
You love to make pretty things. You love to whip up designs just because. You think about the way people interact with websites and mobile applications, and obsess over buttons, shades, and outlines. To you, a curve is not just a curve. It’s a meticulously calculated and thought-over bend in the cosmos. A color isn’t just ROYGBIV - it’s its own living, breathing entity. Okay, that’s a bit far out, but you get the point. You love GroupMe and want to help design the future of communication.
Then apply here right away. We can’t wait to talk to you.
Or, send it to a friend who you think would be a good match!
Oh, and by the way, we’re still actively looking for a lot of engineering jobs, so check out our current openings.
2010 was an amazing year for us. It was just last May that Steve and I entered the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and whipped up a little prototype called groop.ly on the fantastic Twilio platform. We knew from the moment we started using it that we were onto something special. After a week, the product had already changed the way we communicate with our friends, families, and co-workers.
In July, Steve and I quit our jobs and started working on GroupMe full-time. We brought on some amazingly talented people—Pat, Brandon, Cameron, and Steve—raised a round of financing, and launched our beta at the end of September at TechCrunch Disrupt. We had a mission: we wanted to bring people closer together and make communication with friends as easy as possible.
Fast forward to 2011. Things have moved FAST. We bulked up our team, and now people all across the country are using GroupMe to do extraordinary things. The use cases are endless, and they’re beyond anything we ever envisioned. What was initially intended to be a tool to help coordinate friends going out has turned into something that changes people’s lives on a daily basis. The stories we hear are inspiring and keep us going. We wake up in the morning eager to please our users, and we have no intention of stopping.
Of course, we still have a ton of work to do. It was only several months ago when we showed GroupMe to the world, and we’ve only just started executing our initial roadmap. We’ve got some truly amazing product cooking.
And with all the wonderful things that have happened on our journey so far, we’re thrilled to announce that we just closed a $10.6m Series B round of financing with Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst, First Round Capital, and our Series A supporters SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, and betaworks. We’re honored to have the continued support of our initial investors and the opportunity to bring on such a great new syndicate.
Joining Steve and myself on the GroupMe board will be David Weiden of Khosla Ventures and Ken Lerer of Lerer Ventures. David has deep domain experience when it comes to mobile networks and communication with TellMe and AOL, and Ken has helped turn brands like The Huffington Post and MTV into household names. It’s an absolute dream team for us.
With our fundraising complete we’ll be focusing on executing our product roadmap for the course of 2011. We’re also continuing to build our strong engineering culture with an amazing team, and innovate in the telco space. Expect a lot from us in 2011—we’re changing the way the world comes together, one group at a time. If you want to come join the best group in NYC, check out our jobs page. And make sure to stay up to speed by following us on Twitter or Facebook!
It’s been a surreal ride so far, and we’re just getting started. Thanks to everyone for all the support, and to our users who inspire us every minute of the day. We’ve got GroupMe running through our veins, and we’re going to knock the walls down in 2011.
We’re going big in 2011. We’ve got some amazing things lined up, and we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to be assembling such a talented team. To kick off the new year, we’ve got some fantastic people joining GroupMe. We’d love to take a minute and introduce them!
Jeremy Schoenherr starts today as our iOS man. We lucked out - he’s one of the most talented iPhone brains in the country. Jeremy used to do iPhone development for Hot Potato and has spent the last months consulting in NYC and traveling around rural China. Before that, Jeremy led development on MLB.com At Bat and got to present it at the 2008 WWDC Keynote. He’s an allstar and we’re honored to have him on board. Between Jeremy and Cameron, iOS will be in exquisite form.
Dave Yeu will be joining our team as a Lead Product Engineer. He joins Pat and Brandon to help round out our development team. Dave comes from Pivotal Labs where he worked hands on with some of the biggest consumer internet companies on the web. He has worked hands-on with the entire development team at GroupMe for years. Before Pivotal Labs, Dave was an engineer at Limewire.
Last but definitely not least, Steve Cheney has hopped on board as our first hire in Business Development. Steve is a NYC rockstar. He’s got years of BD experience with IDT, then received his MBA at Columbia Business School (who gets an MBA nowadays?!). Steve has spent the last year advising various startups, mentoring at TechStars, writing for TechCrunch, and searching for the next big thing. We think he found it. He’s an amazing thought-leader and we’re honored to have him on board.
We’ve got a killer team here and we’re building some incredible things we’ll be launching in the coming months. We’re also hiring! If you’re an Android Developer, product person, designer, or just love GroupMe and want to help out, we’d love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help change the way the world communicates in 2011.
Whether you’re taking a trip, staying home, or taking a relaxing vacation, GroupMe would like to offer you a little help keeping everything together this holiday season.
If, like 43 percent of holiday travelers, you’re headed to visit friends or family, why not put everyone in a GroupMe? It’s a low-stress way to keep tabs on everyone in your holiday celebration. Share pictures of all the gifts you get with friends across the country. Chat about traffic, recipes, delays, whatever… and get your group together easily.
If you’re going on vacation, first of all, we’re jealous. Second of all, might we recommend GroupMe as the best way to keep a very low-maintenance connection to the real world? Everyone knows checking your email is a sure-fire vacation ruiner. Text messaging is quick and accessible—and GroupMe just makes it that much more convenient. Check in with everyone back at home once or twice on your vacation, and spend the rest of your time relaxing, not searching for cheap wi-fi.
The holidays are coming, and the perfect way to keep your family together is GroupMe. You’ll always know who’s bringing what, and where everyone’s coming from.
Need proof? Check out this email we just got from one Mr. Mike Tamke:
Ten years ago, a typical, Sunday dinner was simple enough; figure out what to make, pick a time to serve it and then basically ring the “vocal dinner-bell”. “DINNER!” my mother would say. My father, four brothers and I would come stampeding in. Then, with a hurried “Rub-a-dub-dub thanks for the grub”, we’d dig in with the usual clanging of forks on plates, yelling about whose leg is too close to whose as my four siblings and I guarded our eating areas so that no child would steal our favorite part of the meal directly off our plate. Yes, we had to guard our plates!
Now, it is much different. First there are my two parents and the family dog. Brian and I are professionals, living on our own, Matthew is a second year law student in NYC, David is a first year law student on LI and Stephen a junior in college. On top of that, Brian, Matt, Stephen and I all have girlfriends and Brian and I each have a dog. So, instead of five boys for dinner, sometimes it’s five boys plus four girlfriends, and our dogs. Also from time to time.. Well, you get the idea!
Last Sunday, I helped my mother use GroupMe to create a group with the five brothers, my cousin Mary, and our friend Roger included. By using GroupMe, we were able to facilitate the logistics of who was coming, what time to come, what to bring and even if people needed to be picked up.
So, with the communication pipeline that GroupMe provided, everyone was on the same page and the list of what came for dinner was as follows: Five brothers, four girlfriends, three dogs, two parents, two cousins, one niece, one nephew, one good neighbor, one train-station pick up, one loaf of bread, one half-gallon of ice cream, one apple pie, two bottles of tonic, 4 limes, one bottle of club soda, two bottles of wine, six bottles of beer, one load of laundry, three arguments about music, two arguments about who’s driving who home and one great, on-time meal with all the fixings, a lot of laughs and a memorable evening.
We know what you’re thinking. Another amazing update to your app? How could it be? Well, that’s just how it is around here, people. We work hard.
Announcing GroupMe for iPhone: Version 1.3.
This one goes out to the people with older phones. Our app now works on all devices running iOS 3.1.2 or later. That means you, iPod touches! You still need a phone with text messaging to use GroupMe, but managing and creating your groups is much easier with the app. Take a look:
The main group view shows you all the groups you’re in and has an easy button in the corner to help you create a new one (like in the last version).
Within a group (even on an iPod, see?) you can see all the members, pick a photo to share, and send your group a text or start a conference call. Yes, even on an iPod touch. For now, you’ll still need a separate phone to see the replies, but you can send messages from your iPod.
If you tap “Conference” from an iPod touch, we call your phone first. After you pick up, we ring the rest of your group. It’s that easy!
Plus, contacts now load faster, you can mute your groups from the app, and we fixed a lot of bugs. It just keeps getting better!
Hey everyone! This week, we’re honoring the dwindling days of football season by sharing this great letter we received from a youth football and cheer league in Northern California. Take a quick break from watching Friday Night Lights reruns and give it a look:
I have been searching for a group texting program to quickly get information to the 11 members of the Board of Directors of our youth football and cheer league. Our directors are scattered all over Northern California.
I tried to get everyone on board with Twitter, but most had no desire to sign up. However, everyone did have texting and a cell phone. Setting up GroupMe took just seconds, and before too long the members were having a blast using it. Sort of like a message board by cell phone.
I got so excited that I created another group for high school score updates. I announce our local high school football games, and many of us, including our fans, like to know the scores from other teams in the North State. So I made a group of friends from each of the area high schools who attend their local games.
Before, I used to be the texting “hub”. Scores would be sent to me from everyone, and then I would have to forward them by text to everyone. I could never enjoy my game because I was busy forwarding and texting. GroupMe was perfect for us!!! All I have to do is text my update, and that’s it. Your system takes care of the rest, and everyone in the group is getting consistent updates.
Thank you very much GroupMe!!!
NorCalFed Youth Football and Cheer
Thank you, Sean. We love making people’s lives easier.
You can learn more about NorCalFed on their website.
Periodically, we share stories from users about how they use GroupMe in their everyday lives. If you have something to share, email us at email@example.com. We’re really nice.