We have been working on a new message app and platform called Cate. It takes email, adds simplicity of direct messages and turns both into one smart and smooth experience. It filters out the noise and leaves on the voices that are important to you.
The idea is that on the go, we have context on a timeline: of people and topics that are important to us: at school, with work, with friends, planning events, or with family and life partners.
Our priorities change depending no where we are and what we are doing. We want to stay in touch with people, get updates, send them our thoughts, ideas and wishes. But we don’t want to manage emails. We don’t want to be bugged with newsletters. We want to talk about what is important to us at the time, at school, with work, family, or on events.
Cate is about communication that is simple and straightforward. We use technology to remove clutter, to take care of a lot of things that are disrupting us and slowing us down. Cate provides a flawless, smooth experience, so you can focus on communication.
Cate unifies email and direct messaging into a new, innovative experience. It ties in with services like Gmail and Twitter, Facebook Chat or App.net for direct messages. Cate does not replace these services, but it improves how you use them. You can always access and manage your conversations using Web Gmail, other email apps, or direct messaging app services.
Cate got its name from communicate. It is planned as a mobile app for iOS and Android. There will also be a Web or desktop app that is more designed for managing messages. It will let you sort, delete, manage and group messages and set up filters. Cate has a very smart architecture, that allows us to relay and distribute messages so you get a unified and simplified experience.
We have plans and ideas that go much further, to offer pro accounts and collaboration tools, encryption and more space, for groups on an enterprise level. But we will take one step at a time. First we want to find the best way to communicate with text on the go.
Cate will be made by River, a start-up with a focus on tools that make our lives better, that help us communicate, think, collect knowledge, collaborate and live together. We are young and Cate will be our first major release.
River was founded by Henning von Vogelsang and Freddy Snijder joined the team as Engineering advisor.
As a first step, we are building the foundation. This is where we need your help. We have an innovative product idea, product design, a user interface, concepts and ideas for algorithms and access to technologies to make this work.
There needs to be a backend (software on servers) and a frontend (software on your devices). We will begin with iOS development, but from the start we will lay out the foundation for the technology we need to make Cate a platform for the future.
This work requires intensive engineering, testing and development work for several months. We need a funding of $140,000 U.S. (before taxes) to get Cate started. This will enable us to lay the foundation in about six months. If you are looking at it from an engineering side, about 70% of the app for mobile will be developed. The more we receive initially, the farther we will get with the engineering of the final product. So if we exceed our funding goal, you are actually investing in the product.
The foundation will become the spine of the platform. Based on this we will build the first versions of Cate. You will get access to the Alpha, Beta and release versions. You will get exclusive updates and perks that make you a proud part of the development of Cate. You will be among the first people who can touch and use Cate.
We believe Cate will change the way how we communicate with each other. And now it’s up to you! You have the power to make this happen.
River Profile on Angellist
Music for the video “Cate: We just want to talk” by Keith Kenniff.
Music for the video “This is how it works” by PanosLa (Soundcloud, CC License).
Disclaimer: The definition and limitation of services provided by Twitter, Facebook, Appnet and Google will be subject to their offering. Cate is not associated in any way with the aforementioned services.
* Beta versions of software are buggy. They are meant for testing with users. You get the choice to install a Beta version, but it is on your own risk.
** Depending on the state of existence of the company and product.
If you would like to test Cate in the alpha development stage (even before beta), please write us and prove that you are a developer. Involving outsides for alpha testing makes only sense to us if you can contribute to identifying issues with an engineering perspective.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cate a new messaging service?
It is not a new service like Whatsapp or WeChat. Instead we are using existing channels people already use, like Gmail, Facebook, App.net and Twitter.
Where are my messages stored?
Every message you receive or send using Cate will remain at the original service. This works much like an email app you run on your computer or your phone and the messages remain at Gmail, or the service you use. The same is true for Twitter direct messages and Facebook chat. You can always access and archive, move, delete or continue message threads on these services.
How much of my investment goes to the actual product?
This round of investment is going into the infrastructure. The foundation also includes an iOS app and the entire infrastructure, plus the development of algorithms and processes.
Which features will be in pro accounts?
We are planning to introduce the mobile app for free. Pro accounts are subscriptions with additional value. A pro account will be affordable (in the range of $25 to $90 a year) and depending on the plan, it will include an array of extras and features* like more disk space, attachment management, collaboration and groups, data encryption (*examples, not defined yet).
Will you ever share or sell my data?
Cate needs to break down content, to analyze keywords and contacts to deliver on the features it promises. But we will put everything into making our infrastructure secure, and we will never ever sell or distribute your data to other parties. Our business model is not, and never will be, advertising.
This is a nice vision, but what do you have already?
We have a concept for user behavior patterns, forming the user experience. This is based on research and months of brainstorming, discussions, feature evaluation and user feedback.
We have built the entire UI, including all graphical elements and workflow states. We have built interactive design prototypes which apply iOS 7 native gestures, and run directly on the iPhone 5. Creating the user interface and making it work takes about 50% to 70% of the local app client development.
There is an architecture and server model, with a plan how to collect, analyze, relay, track and distribute data across all involved networks. We did thorough research with the API’s of each service we plan to integrate and we have made decisions about the programming- and scripting languages, which filters we will use, how we apply them and which data processing model works best.
If you compare it to airplane engineering: We have an airplane model, an engine, we made a cockpit, we figured out the carriage capacity, how many passengers it can carry, figured out the fueling system, the radio systems and we have done tests in the wind channel with a model of the airplane.
Now we need to build the first airplane and see how it flies, taking the next step to releasing the final product.
Why do you need this funding?
It is fairly easy and does not cost so much to develop an app that runs on your iPhone. If you have a game or a task manager, for an example, these apps have not always the need for an Internet connection and if they do, syncing data is a simple transfer between two points, your phone and the server. But Cate is not a simple app.
We are building a new platform that runs on several devices, incorporating various protocols from different services. It needs a solid architecture with servers, data management, algorithms and processing. Making messages work between four or five different services with their own API is not a trivial thing. Research and development, engineering and infrastructure doesn’t come for free.
River is currently located in Zurich, one of the most expensive cities in the world, one of the top five with highest living costs. If the campaign is successful, we will receive about 57% of the full amount after fees (Indiegogo, conversion rates) and after taxes in Switzerland. With the raised funds we can rent infrastructure, like a cloud server system, and a team of three to four developers can work full-time on Cate for six to seven months.