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: email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re really nice.
Take a look at this great story we got from Fordham University student Ryan Byrne, who’s currently fundraising for an outreach trip to Belize City.
When I found out I would be leading a Global Outreach trip to Belize City over winter break, I had no idea how big the time commitment would be. Although I participated in the project last year, I didn’t realize how time consuming organizing meetings and fundraisers between 11 group members could be.
After my entrepreneurship professor Charlie O’Donnell showed GroupMe to my class, I immediately went home and created a group for my team. At first, a text from a mysterious number which, when replied to, texted everyone on the team with their names attached, really confused some members. After this initial confusion subsided, everyone was in love with GroupMe.
GroupMe allowed everyone to communicate together as a team whenever needed, and has become an important aspect of our team-building efforts. Members have been using it to joke around and contact each other in a less formal matter when needed. When you’re first getting to know someone, it’s a lot less awkward to address that person in a GroupMe group (like a group setting) than it is to text them individually.
Even though helping build community has been important, I think GroupMe has been more important to me in a different aspect—saving me time when organizing. As I mentioned earlier, leading has been a big time commitment, but this time commitment has been rapidly shrinking since GroupMe came into my life. I think this can be best illustrated with a recent example.
One fundraiser we had, a simple 4-hour bake sale at night targeted at students “going out,” ended up taking me a ton of time to organize. I texted everyone on my team and asked them when they would like to work. Too many people texted back overlapping times, and certain time slots were not filled by members. I had to text everyone back and give them an OK, or text them back and ask them to change times. They then responded and said if they could or could not do a different time, and I would have to text other people and try to see if they could switch, etc. I had 11 conversations going on at the same time just to try and set up a simple bake sale, and not even the bake sale itself—just the time slots.
Now, we recently held our first post-GroupMe fundraiser: a raffle for Broadway tickets. I literally sent one text that said “We need someone working at the table today and tomorrow from 1PM to 7PM. People texted the group back when they could work, and since they could see what slots were filled and what needed to be filled, there was no overlap. Plus, everyone knew who was coming to relieve him or her from his or her shift and didn’t need to contact me and ask what was going on. Everything worked so simply and efficiently and saved me enormous amounts of time and effort.
I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go back to a time before GroupMe, and I think my group would agree. Just last week the Global Outreach team for India followed suit and began to use GroupMe as well, and I am sure they too will benefit from it just as much as we have.
We’re proud to announce that GroupMe is part of this year’s Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con, going down this weekend (Dec 4-5) at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.
With appearances by Vivica A. Fox, Henry Winkler, Adam West and Burt Ward, Pam Grier, and many more, this weekend promises to be an unforgettable experience for fans of all things pop culture.
Of course, GroupMe will be there to make your weekend easier than ever. Here’s how it works: Create a group on our special Comic Con landing page here. Add all the friends you’re going with to that group. We give your group a free phone number; when you text it, everyone receives it, and when you call it, you’re connected on a conference call. How’s that for an easy way to plan your arrival and schedule?
The organizers have set up a few text reminders, insider promotions, and special announcements that’ll be sent to your group as well, so you don’t miss any of the best events and appearances that this Comic Con has to offer.
Here’s an idea for this weekend: Thanksgiving is the perfect time to get your family together in a GroupMe.
Try it out now—go to groupme.com and start a group with everyone who’s going to be at your Thanksgiving celebration. Your group can stay updated on everyone’s travel situation and who’s bringing what with just a few simple text messages. And if you’d prefer to keep the family time confined to this weekend, just set the group to expire automatically on our website, or by creating it in our iPhone app.
If this weekend is more about shopping for you and your friends, GroupMe’s a timesaver for you as well. Put everyone you’re shopping with in a GroupMe—make it from your phone if you’re on the go—and get ready for some Black Friday deals. When you’re all in the crowded mall, imagine the ease of having everyone else at your fingertips. You text “cheap shoes on the second floor,” and everyone comes running—no more missed opportunities.
Wherever you’re going this Thanksgiving, bring GroupMe with you and impress all your loved ones. They’ll thank you.
Check out this awesome story we just got from Caren Kelleher:
When I first heard about you, I must admit that I was skeptical your service would be of use to me. Everyone I know — in both my personal and professional circles — has a smartphone with email capabilities and I assumed we would keep in touch using pre-existing technologies.
Trying to keep up with four traveling musicians, a publicist and two managers (while also managing relationships with booking agents, promoters, talent scouts and brand partners) can be unnecessarily complicated, especially when all those parties are spread across the world: Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, London, San Francisco… Since the band plays ten to twenty shows a month while all of us also hold day jobs, GroupMe has given us a way to stay on the same page and never miss the opportunity to communicate the little things - and trust me, its the little things matter most.
If the band is having trouble getting a sound check or makes a great business connection at a show, I want to hear about it so I can help from afar. Since the guys are always on the road — often in remote areas — it’s easier for them to send a text through GroupMe than wait for an internet connection to load-up. I value that constant line of communication so I’m not waiting until the next day to hear how a show went or how many CDs were sold.
But the best part is that GroupMe allows us to always feel personally, not just professionally, connected. We can share in jokes, send quick words of encouragement and exchange ideas in a snap.
Keep doing what you’re doing, GroupMe. You’ve got a spot on the guest list when The Lighthouse and the Whaler comes to your town.
You can find Caren on Twitter here, and learn more about The Lighthouse and The Whaler here.
Periodically, we share stories from users about how they use GroupMe in their everyday lives. If you’ve got something to say, email us at email@example.com. We’re really nice.
“Is this a scam where you ask me to wire some money to an account in Nigeria?” This was the first text on our Stratton 2011 GroupMe.
What exactly GroupMe is quickly became clear as the banter among our seven friends hit a fever pitch. Dougie is airing out his smoking jacket, Andy is saying hello as each new member arrives, Bryan is at The Rusty Knot, and James is now catching on.
We didn’t need GroupMe to heighten our anticipation for the upcoming ski season but this amazing SMS-based app will be critical as we caravan from NYC to Stratton, break for lunch on the slopes, plan dinners, and share ego-stroking tales of mogul jumps.
I’ve added Groups for family, college friends, nyc friends, hometown friends, and work friends. I’ll add a group for our party tonight and ditch it tomorrow. Every plancast, foursquare check-in, local tweet, facebook place, google place, and small business should have a GroupMe.
You’ll be happy to know, Jared, that you no longer have to manually “ditch” a group that you create for a one-night party. With our new feature, short-term groups, you can set the group to automatically end after tonight. Pretty cool, right?
Periodically, we share stories from users about how they use GroupMe in their everyday lives. If you’ve got something to say, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re really nice.
We’re proud to announce today the release of the newest version of our Android app, to top off today’s run of announcements.
GroupMe for Android 1.1 introduces a number of features requested by our users, a couple of bug fixes, and, of course, photo sharing. Here’s the new group view:
And here are the options you’re given when you tap “Share Photo”:
By popular demand, the app now informs you that group members will receive a text message when added to your group. It also now gives the option to sync your GroupMe numbers to your contacts, complete with a GroupMe logo contact icon.
As always, we’re really excited to push this out, and we think you’re going to love it. GroupMe for Android 1.1 is available now in the Android Market. Just search for “GroupMe” or scan the QR code below with your Android device.
Just over two weeks ago, we released version 1.1 of our iPhone app. Well, we’ve been working hard, and today we’re thrilled to give you another update: version 1.2.
It supports both of our brand-new features: photo messaging and short-term groups. Plus, there are tons of UI improvements and bug fixes that make this the best GroupMe experience yet. Let’s check out the screenshots.
Of course, we’ve added that exciting new “Share Photo” button, and a new tag telling you which group member created each group.
When you create a new group, there’s a nice new flow to guide you through creating it. Start with what (the group topic)…
then when (whether the group is ongoing or short-term)
then who (add members!)
We think you’ll love it. Let us know what you think by writing a review on the App Store! You can download and review the app here.
Short-term groups aren’t all we’re announcing today—we’re also launching our most-requested feature. Since we launched just a few short months ago, you guys have been clamoring for an easy way to share photos with your groups.
Well, you asked for it, and we built it. Starting today, you can share a photo with your group from the web interface or from one of our native apps. Here’s what it looks like:
And here’s how it all works. You hit “Share Photo”, choose one, and upload it. In the apps, you can even take a picture without leaving the app.
We send your group a text message with a link to your photo, like this:
Steve sent a picture to the group. View it here: http://p.groupme.com/bPruJP . You can share pictures by downloading our iPhone or Android apps!
It’s that simple.
So what are you waiting for? Start sharing photos!
One of the things we’ve realized while building and using GroupMe is that not all groups last forever. While most of the groups people create have long and fulfilling lives, there are definitely some times when you just don’t want to make that big of a commitment.
So today we’re releasing a new feature: short-term groups. When you start a group online or in our iPhone app, you now have the option to set your group to automatically end after a set period of time.
We’ve worked hard to make it simple and elegant, so when you create a short-term group, you have two options. You can end the group after tonight, or after this weekend. Easy as that.
Don’t worry, though; you’re not locked into it. We send a text to the group creator the next day, asking if they want to keep the group going. They can easily turn a short-term group into a normal group instantly.
Next time you’re going out for a crazy evening with a group of friends, create a group for tonight, and you can have a fun backchannel just for the night. Or if you’re going to a conference for the weekend with a few strangers, start a group so you can stay in touch over the weekend, but head right back to work on Monday with no new commitments.
We have a really great story to share today from Jake Brady, a student at business- and entrepreneurship-focused Babson College. He and a lot of his friends have been telling us about how they’ve used GroupMe in all sorts of contexts on campus, and today Jake took the time to send us this note.
My favorite thing to use GroupMe for is organizing my groups. I go to a business school and consequently do a lot of academic and club work in groups. I’m the kind of guy who hates scheduling 30 minute meetings via email and then showing up to find no one there (although, I think in college everyone is “that kind of guy”). Email is also a hassle. I have an iPhone but when I’m trying to have a conversation via email the experience just isn’t good enough. GroupMe makes this process much easier.
I’ll give you an example. I had a group project two weeks ago with six people. Now, finding a time to meet and divide up the work was hard enough with our 6 different schedules. On top of that, email never works because people either don’t check it or ignore it. Ever heard of the email monster? Neither have I, but apparently plenty of intelligent students and adults believe that he exists. How many times have you heard “I’m sorry I didn’t get your email.”? I’ve heard it about a million times and it’s very obvious the other person simply chose to ignore the message. However, we all act as though there’s some monster on the internet that is stealing emails.
I got my group members on GroupMe and the rest is history. We did all planning and updates via the service and the organization was a breeze. We never had to meet in person, and knowing what everyone was doing wasn’t a chore. All my updates were in a short format (people don’t want to text long messages unlike email), and no one missed an update. We all agreed after we got a great grade that our workload was made much more efficient via this service, and on top of that we had a lot of fun bantering over it.
So while there are many advantages to GroupMe, my favorite is that it has taken away one of my top ten pains at schools; trying to get groups to organize. It has created a lasting and immediate conversation in most of my groups that’s fun and better yet dead simple. And here’s the bonus round: my life has gotten a lot more spontaneous since using GroupMe because all it takes to start a party is one text and the next thing you know you’ve got 20 people in a room having a blast.
You can learn more about Babson College on their website.
Periodically, we share stories from users about how they use GroupMe in their everyday lives. If you’ve got something to say, email us at email@example.com. We’re really nice.
This coming Sunday, tens of thousands of people will run their way through all five boroughs of our own New York City as part of the 41st annual New York City Marathon, and we’ll be there to help cheer on those amazing runners!
If you or someone you know is running, why not set up a GroupMe to keep track of your team of supporters? Just create one now and add everyone who’s going to be following your runner on race day.
Imagine how much easier it will be to coordinate meeting up after the finish line in crowded Midtown if everyone’s on an instant conference call. Or how nice it would be to tell everyone the latest split times with just one message, instead of dozens. It doesn’t matter what phone you have, either—anyone who can text can participate in GroupMe.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re in New York, get out and cheer on some runners. If you’re not, you can watch it online. No matter who you are, it’s the perfect opportunity to try out GroupMe.
When it’s over, let us know how you used GroupMe during your marathon weekend — we’d love to hear from you.
You asked for it, and we made it. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the release of GroupMe for Android, available now on the Android Market.
While Android owners have been flocking to GroupMe in droves, managing their groups on the web or via text message, we think the new app will make it easier than ever to manage and create groups on an Android device.
When you first launch the app, it quickly confirms your number and loads your pre-existing groups. You’ll only have to do that once.
From then on, you’ll have easy access to your groups, just like on our website. You can view each one, see all its members at a glance, edit or remove members, and text or call them all from within the app.
Creating a group is simple, too! Just hit the + button, and you’re able to create a new group instantly, seamlessly searching through your contacts to find the people you want. Tap “save” and we set it up instantly, complete with a brand-new phone number.
What are you waiting for? We think you’re really going to love it. Find it today by searching for “GroupMe” in the Android Market, or scan this QR code with your Android device:
As by now you must be aware, tomorrow is Election Day in the United States. No matter what your politics, we here at GroupMe believe the most important thing is to go out and vote tomorrow.
Here’s a few ways you can use GroupMe to help get out the vote tomorrow:
Voters – Text your groups tomorrow to remind everyone to go to the polls! You can find your polling station here or, if you’re on the go, by texting “where” to 30644 (it’s free). If you don’t have a GroupMe yet, start one and add all the friends who’ll need an extra reminder to vote tomorrow.
Campaign Workers – Organizing everyone is hard. GroupMe makes it easy to communicate quickly, so you’ll be able to figure out where everyone is and make sure you’re covering ground effectively. Start one now so you’ll be prepared in the morning.
Poll Workers – Keep in touch with everyone at your polling location, no matter where you are. The voting process requires a lot of extra help — we’ll take the load off and cut down on the confusion of poll work. Start a group and add all your coworkers; tomorrow will go by much easier.
Hey, before your Halloween weekend gets too out of hand, why not set up a GroupMe to keep up with your crew? Whether you’re going trick-or-treating, out partying, or getting into mischief, you’ll need to stay in touch with your costumed friends.
It’s easy to start. Of course, you can start a group from your phone, no matter which one you have, but the easiest thing to do is to go to our homepage and put in your name and phone number. We’ll give you a free group and a phone number to go with it; just add your friends to it and you’ll all be texting and conference calling instantly. Save the number to your contacts, because it’s yours to keep for any time you want to contact those people.
While you’re on the group page, why not change your group topic to “Halloween”? It’s the little things that get people into the spirit, you know?
We’re so excited today to announce that we’re powering the Disco Biscuits' Halloween Run this week. Every night between now and Halloween, the band is playing shows in North Carolina and Virginia. If you’re planning on going, start a group on our special landing page (it’s free!). Be sure to add the friends you’ll be going with, too—a group of one or two doesn’t count as a group!
Each night, we’ll be randomly selecting one group (you and all your friends) to get a free VIP upgrade. All you have to do is start a group and add the people you’re going with on the GroupMe Disco Biscuits landing page.
To top it all off, Brownie himself will be dropping into one lucky group each night to ask for a little help figuring out the setlist. That’s right, you might get to help with the set list of their show. Could it get any better?
To recap: get your friends in a group on this site today, and upgrade your Disco Biscuits experience this weekend. That’s all there is to it!
Today, we have a neat story from Russ Sharek of the Circus Freaks, a Dallas-based troupe of circus-style performers. Russ initially contacted us with a support issue, but once he told us about how he uses GroupMe, we just had to ask him to share a story. After we fixed his problem, he shared this letter with us:
Herding circus performers is a lot like herding cats, except that a cat’s natural propensity for napping leads to the vague possibility of getting in a room with one long enough to hold a meeting.
Because we’re often out in the world doing insane-yet-entertaining things, email and other desk-bound social networking tools aren’t particularly effective ways to corral our out-of-control circus on a realtime basis.
GroupMe’s “mobile chatroom” allowed us to have a way to maintain constant contact, which means on a moment’s notice I know who’s available to breathe fire, walk on stilts or defy gravity for a client’s amusement.
And that means that so long as I have my cellphone, the show goes on.
We’re very excited to announce the release of the latest version of our iPhone app. Version 1.1 dropped on the App Store today!
The major change is in the contact selector—the screen where you choose which of your contacts you’d like to add to a group. A lot of you suggested that we add a “search contacts” box and an alphabetical side scrollbar. Well, we’ve done just that. Check it out:
Plus, we’ve fixed plenty of little bugs and made it faster than ever before.
We’re really excited to announce that GroupMe is sponsoring the AM Only and Famous Friends party this Saturday here in New York. Check out the lineup below—it promises to be the best dance party of the week in a week filled with awesome dance parties. What better way to wrap up your week?
Plus, because GroupMe’s sponsoring this event, we can get you in for free. That’s right—even if you don’t have a CMJ badge! All you have to do is sign up a group on our special AM Only & Famous Friends landing page. Add the people you want to go to the show with, because all of you will be on the guestlist. It’s that easy.
To recap: there’s an awesome party on Saturday, and you can get in for free by connecting your friends here. See you there!
Did you know that GroupMe works on every phone? In fact, you can start and manage your groups with any phone that can send and receive text messages. Seriously!
If you have a smartphone, you probably just use the button in the iPhone app or on our website to start a new GroupMe. But if your phone doesn’t have web access, you can still easily start one on the go. Just text “#new” to any existing GroupMe. If you’re starting a group for the first time, you can text “#new” to (917) 791-2178 (save it in your contacts now!) and we’ll text you back from your new group number.
To add people to your group, text your new group number “#add [name] [number]”. For example, if you want to add your friend Mark to your group with the phone number (555) 444-7777, just send this text message to your GroupMe: “#add Mark 5554447777”.
There are a lot of #commands to help you use GroupMe to its fullest capabilities. If you ever forget them while you’re on the go, you can text “#help” to your group and we’ll reply with a quick explanation of them. Or you can always look at the whole list on our help page.
Of course, if you do have an iPhone, our app is really great (and Android users, fret not, your app is coming soon!). But GroupMe is for everybody, no matter what phone they use. We’re committed to that.
Today, we have an amazing story from Scott Lawrence in San Francisco. Scott learned this summer that he has Stage IVa oral tongue cancer. He recently underwent surgery to remove a part of his tongue and replace it with an implant, which he wrote about on his blog, Scott Versus Cancer. Here’s what he had to say about GroupMe:
Losing my tongue to cancer was scary.
Not knowing what to expect coming home from the hospital after surgery worried me, to say the least. I had set up some online help to try to organize my support network—email accounts, calendars, a messaging system on my website. None of them seemed to “stick”, and I ended up confusing my friends with logins, passwords and other diversions. I saw a write-up about GroupMe on TechCrunch and signed up.
I was lucky to keep enough of my tongue to be able to swallow and can speak (somewhat). Right now, I’m using GroupMe to keep my Volunteer Army (~15 strong) posted with updates from doctor visits, tests, and my general health. With one month of recovery from surgery passed, I still have radiation and chemotherapy to look forward to. That’s going to be five days a week, out of the city, for radiation and three hits of chemo here in the city.
Since I’ve got everyone plugged into one place with GroupMe I get nearly instant replies to any request and imagine that it’ll be even more useful once I need to start going to those treatments. I can let my network know where and when and any one of them can offer to help, at the same time letting everyone else know that it’s taken care of. Likewise, if someone can’t make it they can let everyone know at once instead of me having to do it individually.
GroupMe offers some peace of mind in this whirlwind that has become my life. Thank you!
If, like many of our users, you’re on Foursquare, it’s easy to share your location with your friends on GroupMe. From any location page on your Android or iPhone Foursquare app, just press “Share”, then “by text message”.
Foursquare creates a new text message with the name and address of your location, and all you have to do is send it to your GroupMe. It’s that easy.
Try it out next time your group is trying to meet up!
Startup Weekends bring together talented developers, artists, designers, marketers, and business managers for one weekend with one goal in mind: creating innovative new startups. GroupMe was born out of a hackathon very much in the same vein, so we know all about the importance of good communication in early-stage startups.
That’s why this weekend, we’re bringing the power of our Sponsored Groups to Startup Weekends in four different locations—New England, Denver, Los Angeles, and Olympia. Teams of about 4-10 people working to cultivate brand-new startups will each use a GroupMe to keep in touch during what’s sure to be a very hectic 54 hours.
Plus, because the GroupMes will be sponsored by Startup Weekend, organizers will be able to reach everyone with notifications, reminders, and other important information as it happens, just like we did at Austin City Limits.
Best of luck to all teams—we’re looking forward to seeing what you all create!
I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz over the last month or so in the community over GroupMe, and honestly I hadn’t tested it out because most of my civilian (ie, non tech) friends typically don’t seem to care when I’m raving about some new tech product. I’m…
Have you heard? Legendary rapper MC Hammer has been dropping into a few lucky groups. Last night two groups were surprised to receive a lucky text message: “Hammer has been added to your group.”
Hammer texted back and forth with members of the groups, then called each one for a brief chat. It’s apparently a life-changing experience, too:
Hammer’s excited to drop into a few more groups over the next few days, so you and your friends still have a chance to talk to him! All you have to do is text “#hammertime” to one of your existing groups with four or more members, and he could drop into your group next.
And if you don’t have any groups set up yet, it’s really easy. Just enter your name and phone number on GroupMe.com and add a few friends to your group, then text “#hammertime” to the new number to become eligible for the lucky call.
Oh, and one more thing. Follow us on Twitter to hear the latest updates on GroupMe, including when MC Hammer will be calling next.
Text “#hammertime” (including that pound sign, all lower case) to any of your groups with more than four members, and we’ll enter your group into our contest. Over the next few days, the one and only MC Hammer will be calling and texting with groups. Really.
That’s right; you and your friends (co-workers? family members?) might all get to talk to MC Hammer. Boom. What are you waiting for?
If you don’t have any groups on GroupMe yet, get on it. It’s easy! You don’t want to miss out on this chance.
The GroupMe team is presenting all our new features tonightat the New York Tech Meetup at NYU’s Skirball Center. Come and see us demo them all—sponsored groups, our new iPhone app, and one more surprise we’ll be debuting tonight.
And if you’re going, be sure to sign up your personal NYTM group, and we’ll send you a few text reminders about the event, the afterparty, and other things you’ll need to know. It’s easy, we promise. Go for it.
Tickets are sold out, but unused tickets will go on sale at 7:20pm. Get in line, people.
Whether you come out to Zilker Park with an entourage of a few or twenty, it can be a chore to coordinate with your crowd. Why chase after your chums when you can just use GroupMe?
A two-way “reply-all” text service, it lets you chat with multiple friends at once via text message (complete with timestamps) no matter what cellphone they own. Sort of like carrying around your own personal chat room. Plus, it’s the perfect compliment to our official ACL Apps!
Setting up a group is easy, and it’s totally free. GroupMe works on EVERY phone. As long as you can text message, you can create groups. Go to http://groupme.com/acl, enter your name and phone number and you’re done! You can add your ACL Music Festival crew via text message by texting “NEW” to 512-522-5972, or you can simply create an account and add people online. You can also download the official GroupMe iPhone App in the app store for easy group setup and management.