Ever wish you could send messages to your future self? Ever wish you could capture a moment and send it to your friends at a future date? Atlanta startup Incubate is an app letting you do exactly that.
With Incubate, you can send text, voice, image, and video messages up to 25 years into the future. You can see how many messages you have waiting to hatch, but when and from whom is left a surprise.
Inspired by a friend’s frustrations with his 3 month old triplets, Michael McCluney is a seasoned entrepreneur and co-founder of Incubate. With Incubate, you can send messages to friends and loved ones to receive anywhere from a few days to in a few years in the future.
Features such as the Nursery allow users to create accounts for someone who doesn’t yet have a phone number. This way, parents can create accounts for their children and start creating messages immediately.
Incubate is also taking college campuses by storm. They’ve even coined the hashtag “#drinkubate.” The startup hosted a launch event at the University of Georgia right before the school went on Spring Break. Since then, students have used Incubate to take memories made over the weekend and send them forward a few days to have something to laugh over the next week.
Incubate launched their beta last August and their iOS app was released earlier this month.
What’s the story of Incubate?
One of my best friends from college, he and his wife had 3 month old triplets. It was 3:21 AM on a random Tuesday night. He got up at 2 AM to feed, he was going to get back up at 4 AM to change them, and he was leaving for work at 6. He just put the last one down and he was looking longingly at the couch.
Right when his head hit the pillow, one of babies started crying. The others started crying as well. He snapped and was like, “Are you *bleeping* kidding me?”
He’s an attorney, so I told him that next time he should get his dictaphone out and make a recording that they can hear in the future. Let them hear the crying in the background and don’t censor any of the four letter words. Let them know it’s 3:21 AM and (at a seminal moment when everybody’s around), break this recording out.
He went from being frustrated to dying at the thought. I looked for an app, because there’s pretty much an app for everything these days, but there was nothing. There were some time capsule-type things, but nothing where your messages matured to a certain point in time.
He wanted to send something now and have someone receive it in the future.
I thought back on a friend’s wedding. His mother had terminal cancer and they had an abbreviated engagement hoping she would make it. They realized about 8 weeks before the wedding she wasn’t going to. It would have been unbelievably powerful if she could have left him a voicemail saying how proud she was of him. A simple message could have been life changing.
Then, I started thinking about how much fun I could have had with this in college. It would be fun to have messages that tied me back to friends and the novelty associated with that.
We stumbled on an idea with a sentimental side, a novel side, and has the practical side of sending reminders to people at a specific time.
What’s been the most rewarding part of growing Incubate?
It’s rewarding to see the reaction we get from people when they realize what they can do with Incubate. It’s usually the meaningful messages that they can leave for birthdays and holidays so we can hear from the important people in our lives in the future. That’s truly meaningful and that excites us.
It also gets us excited to see how college kids are using Incubate. We built Incubate to be titillating. We kept that idea at the forefront of our mind as we thought about features and design. We in an instant gratification society, and so we had to build in things like the push notifications. This way, you can see when a friend sends you something. You don’t know which friend sent it or when you’ll get it, but you can see the messages building up.
College kids are going out, partying, and catching their friends doing stupid, funny things. They can send it years into the future, but a lot of times it’s just a couple of days. They’re catching something on a Saturday night and sending it to Tuesday or Wednesday, so they can relive and laugh about it. We’ve coined that as #drinkubating as we’ve seen that catch on.
The ultimate goal is to create an emotional tether where people stay with our platform for the long term.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
It’s always been in my bones. I started investing in the stock market when I was 15. When I was still a senior in college, I took the money I had made and invested in a very good friend of mine. He and I worked together until 2009. In 2010, I partnered with another friend and we ran a corporate print brokerage company until the summer of 2013.
Read the entire piece on pear-a-digms, a thought leadership blog focused on cultivating a culture of connected productivity entrepreneurs, students, business professionals, business owners, and everyone in between.
The Author: Kristine Santos. Entrepreneur. Anthropologist. Writer. Runs social media and blogging for Atlanta-based startup PEAR’d, a virtual collaboration ecosystem for entrepreneurs. A vegetarian who’s learning how to sew and wants to know all about your startup. Let’s talk on Twitter@PEARdUP