When I covered Forecast after their beta launch last July, their position seemed precarious. The Austin-based startup was doing future check-ins: input the place and time you’ll be somewhere, then check in with one click when you arrive – features that Foursquare could easily push out to its huge user base, if it felt so inclined.
But Forecast seems to be minimizing that threat by listening to their users:
“We get thousands of feedback emails from our users and one thing that we hear consistently is how useful Forecast is for getting friends together [and] how much easier Forecast is than sending out a bunch of text messages and managing the group communication that follows. This use case is something we plan to continue optimizing for,” explains CEO René Pinnell.
To take advantage of that, Forecast has since added a “me too” button to indicate you’ll join your friends later. That creates a “forecast” for you, plus a way to keep in touch with everyone planning to meet up. So far, close to 100,000 users have been predicting their future check-ins on Forecast.
Today, the team is launching Forecast 2.0 with some new features: deep Facebook integration, gamification, and invites, including the ability to invite friends from outside the platform. To secure their place in the market, they are also building a web app and recruiting partners to use their private API.
Forecast grew out of party-planning app Hurricane Party, our hottest startup at SXSW last year. This year, find them at the SXSW Accelerator as a finalist in the mobile category.