Missoula startup GatherBoard launches new app, set to enter new markets

Molly Bradford, left, co-founder and CEO of GatherBoard, chats with Taylor Margot, founder of Charmed, during a 1 Million Cups event in Missoula. GatherBoard has launched a new app to enhance its growing calendar service. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

A new app launched by GatherBoard will enhance the usability of its events calendar and integrate with other mobile services, from ride share to social media, poising the Missoula startup for growth into new markets.

Molly Bradford, co-founder and CEO of GatherBoard, said the app solves a number of challenges once faced by the company’s platform and was months in the making.

“We’ve been a bit limited by the size of the community we could go into,” Bradford said this week. “Even in Missoula, where 100,000 people live, we’d have 50 events on one day. How does that work in a city of half-a-million or 1 million people?”

Bradford said the new app provides a more targeted audience for those hosting events on the GatherBoard platform. It enables users to curate their own personal feed and set preferences for different locations that use the service.

Users can also integrate with other apps on their mobile device, including voice calling, their personal calendar and ride services. They can also migrate between GatherBoard’s different calendars and receive event notifications.

“Now, because there are these curated views that people can choose for their home board, and just see what they want to see but still access everything, it will make a huge city’s calendar much more personal for the end user,” Bradford said. “It’s helping us expand our market share, and make it a more personal experience.”

Bradford and co-founder Colin Hickey launched GatherBoard in 2005 by acquiring MissoulaEvents.net. It evolved to its current form in 2013 and has since grown to include 40 licenses, including two in Canada, two in Mexico and much of the Western U.S.

“We have 14 GatherBoards in Montana,” Bradford said. “We have a goal to get some of that clustering in some neighboring states. We have a new license about to launch in Boulder, and we’ve got a couple new ones in New England.”

With an eye on growth, GatherBoard met with Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana and the Small Business Development Center to explore ways to solve its core customer problem. Computer science students at UM developed the new app as a tool to improve the performance of the GatherBoard platform.

Bradford said the app was tested on campus before it went live. It went live in December and is now available in all markets served by the platform through iOS and Android app stores, she said.

“Our app puts users first and helps them better manage their busy lives,” said Bradford. “It provides more targeted audiences for those hosting events on the platform, and it enables our company to begin to scale to larger markets.”