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Pre-Seed Funding

Title

Routine raises a $2.7M pre-seed round from BoxGroup and TargetGlobal to bring a new perspective to productivity

Company

Routine was created by Julien Quintard and Quentin Hocquet, serial entrepreneurs who previously founded Infinit, which they sold to Docker in 2016.

Julien Quintard then became Managing Director for Techstars, running the accelerator program from 2018 to 2020.

Routine was founded in late 2020. Within 3 months, Routine caught the attention of international investors and joined Y Combinator's W21 batch.

Routine is on a mission to help extremely busy people stay on top of things. CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors, senior executives, and general managers evolve in a very chaotic environment with hundreds of emails, chat messages, things going through their minds, and important tasks that must be completed in time.

Even though many tools exist, from email clients, calendars, to-do, and note-taking apps all the way to project management platforms and physical notebooks, none of them seem to work when it comes to having an overall picture of what matters at the moment.

Product

Routine combines tasks, notes, contacts and calendar into a single productivity desktop and mobile app for busy professionals.

Routine distinguishes itself from other productivity apps in the following ways:

  1. Individual-Centric Experience: Routine is targeted at individuals, not teams, focusing on professionals' objectives: tasks to accomplish and events taking place today
  2. Dashboard: Routine's dashboard brings key information, in a fraction of a second, regarding what matters right now: tasks to complete today, upcoming events and console to interact with Routine
  3. All-in-one: By combining tasks, notes, contacts and time, Routine bridges gaps between otherwise siloed products

Funding round

Routine received a total commitment of $6.7 million for a pre-seed round of $2.7 million which was closed 4 weeks after Routine graduated from Y Combinator.

Investors in this round include Y Combinator, BoxGroup (Superhuman, Trello, Sunrise, Airtable etc.), TargetGlobal (Cazoo, BlueApron, Delivery Hero, etc.), and prominent business angels, including Matt Robinson (GoCardless & Nested), Clement Delangue (HuggingFace), Ian Hogarth (Songkick) and more.

Q&A

Why did you start Routine, and what is the background story?

I started Routine because none of the hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, and managers I talked to are happy with their productivity tools.

I’ve been a productivity geek for years now, first as a computer scientist to automate as many things as possible and then as an entrepreneur, trying out all the productivity tools on the market and hacking them to do even more.

Unfortunately, none of those were good enough. So I decided to build one.

We officially started working full-time in October 2020, right during the COVID crisis. The first thing I did was to contact people from my previous company to see if they would be willing to join this new adventure. This is how I partnered with Quentin Hocquet who was my previous company’s (Infinit) CTO.

We are now an international team of 8.

What is Routine's current traction?

We receive hundreds of signups to our waitlist every week. Even though we do not communicate specific figures, we have over 10000+ professionals on our waitlist.

What validation have you received from the market?

When we started working on Routine, we announced it on LinkedIn. Already then, without any product to show, thousands of people signed up telling us how they had been waiting for a productivity product to make their life easier.

After YC, we launched on Product Hunt and ended up as the #1 product of the day. Since then, we have had thousands of professionals sign up to get access to Routine.

We haven't marketed Routine beyond that. We are also trying our best to give access to as many people as possible every week and the feedback we've been receiving has been overwhelmingly positive.

Why were the investors excited to invest in Routine?
Having invested in many productivity tools like Superhuman, Sunrise, and Trello, we are very excited about Routine's team vision to build a simple and logical app that combines calendar, tasks and notes to make your day easier.

David Tisch, Managing Partner at BoxGroup

Routine's experienced team and their fresh approach to productivity is something we believe the productivity space needs at the moment. We are excited with the vision that Julien and his team have set out for Routine and we are happy to join them in this venture.

Lina Chong, Investment Director at TargetGlobal

How are we planning to use the current round of funding?

We are still at the very beginning of the journey. Our vision goes a lot further than what our users can see so far. This is going to require significant time and therefore capital.

More specifically, we're using the capital to assemble the best team to build Routine.

What are your closest competitors?

Since we are arguably much more holistic in our approach to productivity than what is available in the market, it hard to point at direct competition.

However, we would consider traditional to-do lists apps like Todoist and note-taking apps like Evernote to be the closest we have in terms of competition.

What did the competition recently initiate that validates Routine's vision?

Since our beta launch, there have been larger players like Evernote who have created tools that cater to similar functions to that of Routine. It is interesting to see our mission validated by veterans of this space.

Google Workspace is also trying to introduce more functionalities regarding time management.

How does Routine integrate with other tools and services?

For now, Routine requires that the user have a Google account; Google Calendar to be more specific.

Recently, we launched an integration with Notion which our users had been requesting. It allows one to see the tasks that live in Notion and manipulate them in Routine such as scheduling time to work on them.

We are constantly adding new integrations. For a more detailed list, please refer to the knowledge base.

What are the differences between Routine and existing products?

Most productivity tools fall into one of two categories: task management or notes taking.

We believe this division to be counterproductive because it forces the user to constantly switch between them to save, organize, and act upon information based on its type: task (actionable) or note (non actionable).

As a result, most people pick only one of both (e.g a todo app) and then bend its use to remember everything. That is inherently unproductive.

Routine combines both functions (notes and tasks management) and adds the notion of time management to supercharge your productivity.

The question becomes: why use three different productivity apps that cannot talk to one another when you can use Routine and manage everything through a blazingly fast desktop app?

Where is your team located?

We have a hybrid model: the majority of our team works out of our Paris office while other are completely remote. Noteworthy is that even the people in Paris partially work remotely.

This is the model we've chosen to use for now.

Are you looking to expand our team, and in what departments?

We are very pragmatic in our approach; we do not believe in hiring someone unless it is absolutely necessary. That said, we are always looking for talented individuals, in particular on the tech side. Check out our job board for more information.

References

Questions?

If you have any more questions, please email us at press@routine.co