BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- School's out and life is busy. But then when is it not with kids?
It's why Pelham, N.Y. residents Julie and Dennis Roche started Burbio three years ago. The digital calendar provides families with an easy way to sync their personal calendars with those of local sports teams, schools, organizations, libraries and other area groups.
Residents can sign up for free at Burbio.com and “follow” calendars to create a personal feed of events and be notified when things change. There is also an iOS app, which was introduced earlier this year.
What initially began in Westchester -- basically because the Roche's were having a hard time organizing life with their own four boys -- has grown to encompass more than 250 communities throughout Boston, Philadelphia, D.C, New Jersey and Chicago. And yes, Bergen County is on the list.
Since launching on Amazon Alexa, the voice assistant that powers the Echo and Echo Dot, folks can literally ask “What’s going on at my high school?” and get the answer. Users can also link the skill to their Burbio.com account and have a personal, playlist-style list of the events read off to them.
Juile said she and Dennis created Burbio because it was stressful trying to figure out what was going on in their community.
"You can do things like book international flights, book a table at a restaurant, or get directions in seconds – yet figuring what was going on at a local school and getting it on your calendar required rooting through emails, flyers, cutting and pasting – it was very backwards," she said.
"We think what we are tapping into a need to get information more easily and manage it the same way you would manage anything else."
Others, it would seem, agree. Julie was recently honored by the Westchester County Association with a Women in Technology Award, something she greatly appreciates after many many hours of lost sleep and hard work.
A former marketing exec who took time off to raise her kids, she was looking for a "back to work" project when she and Dennis had their Burbio idea. That meant hundreds of hours of coding and design classes at General Assembly in NYC on weeknights and weekends, and later lots of 4 a.m. Skype calls with developers from Belarus and India.
As for what the future holds? Juile said Burbio has benefited from support from non-profit and government leaders who like it as a tool for community building around important local events. So with the addition of the new Voice product, the company will be working more closely with leaders who want to use Burbio as a way to promote an all-in-one solution for integrating all the important events that go on in a town.
And of course with back-to-school coming in September, it's going to be an exciting period for those who use the service to get set for the school year.
Go to www.burbio.com for more information.