Tiimo: the seed-stage startup modernizing executive function accessibility
The visual scheduling startup has raised $1.1 million, and has accomplished more than most
Hello fellow Neurodivergents and scheduling lovers,
Today I am writing about my favorite assistive tech startup Tiimo. Tiimo has taken on the feat of assisting with executive function by building an aesthetically pleasing visual schedule/planner that works across smartphone and smartwatch platforms.
I am a dedicated user of Tiimo, which has raised $1.1 million in seed funding, and have the visual scheduler installed on every single tech product I love: my Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone, and PCs.
Starting with waking up, Tiimo brings me through my entire day by pulling me out of hyperfocus when needed, helping me transition from one activity to the next and complete specific tasks I’m likely to forget.
Modernizing visual scheduling
For those of you that are not familiar with the history of visual schedules, below is an example of a visual schedule that is often used for children and suggested to adults:
I don’t know about you, but I would rather struggle through my days than carry this ugly piece of paper that will likely do nothing for me. These low-tech visual schedules often benefit people most under the following conditions:
They have someone reminding them to check it on a regular basis.
Some people that use visual schedules need additional people support to transition from one activity to the next.
The visual planner is appropriate for the environment and social expectations. For instance, I find the visual schedule above to be childish for myself in personal and work contexts.
As children grow up, most of those person-to-person supports go away for prompting and transitions, and the tools people once relied on are no longer “age-appropriate.”
There have been attempts at “smarter” visual schedules, but they are not appreciably better than what you see above.
Tiimo is unique in that it provides prompting, transition, and malleable to nearly every social context a person can occupy.
Tiimo has four main features that make the app visually appealing as well as offers low stimulation for the user:
A visual timeline
Start & pause
Tiimo’s only movement on the app during a non-transition time is the visual timeline.
This is the primary screen shown during a task that a user adds to their schedule. Users can choose from thousands of icons in the Tiimo library or upload their own. Background colors for the icon can be chosen as well. Throughout the task, the black ring around the icon shows how far through the task you are as well as gives a written timeline of how many minutes are left in the task.
I prefer to use this feature on my Apple Watch, and there is even an Apple Watch widget for it.
Reminders are the next feature of Tiimo.
Users are able to customize when and if they would like reminders for the activities in their schedule. Personally, I have reminders set up for the beginning and end of each activity in Tiimo. This way, if I am hyperfocused on something, I will get a buzz on my wrist to let me know it’s time to move onto another activity.
Lots of time in my life has been saved thanks to the watch notifications!
Users are also able to customize where they would like their notifications sent. Since I have Tiimo on all of my devices, getting notifications on each one would be a bit overkill. I get notifications on my Apple Watch and iPhone only since one of those is with me at all times.
Start & Pause is one of my favorite features. Prior to Tiimo, I and many other people I know would get “stuck” if we did not start or finish an activity that was listed at a specific time in our planner.
Thanks to Tiimo, schedules can be a lot more flexible while still completing the entire schedule in a day. Did you finish dinner early? Great - end it early! Do you need to pause your morning routine to answer a phone call? No problem. You can pause then resume your morning routine with no issue.
Cognitive flexibility is a huge challenge for many people on the Autism Spectrum. Tiimo has made being flexible with schedules significantly easier due to this feature. Don’t get me wrong: it still doesn’t make things perfect, but it is incredibly helpful.
I see the checklists portion of Tiimo as them going above and beyond.
Even without checklists, Tiimo is 10x better than any visual schedule those of us who need it have been offered before. Not only will I get a reminder to take care of my cats, but I have a checklist on my wrist asking me if I fed them, watered them, and changed their litter!
For those of us that struggle with executive functioning, often at least ⅓ of those to-dos will get missed if it isn’t in a checklist. After the checklist is complete you can end the activity and choose to have free time or move onto the next activity.
Tiimo relies on a subscription model.
Due to historically limited access to financial resources, there is pushback in the disability community to pay for apps on a continual basis.
However, I also see the reasoning for not offering a free version. An alternative model, as we are all aware, could be showing ads on the app.
Showing ads to people experiencing executive dysfunction, attention deficits, and a variety of other barriers while trying to rely on this app to calmly get them through the day would likely defeat the purpose of what Tiimo is trying to accomplish for its users.
Part of my love for Tiimo is its calm, quiet (only if you want it to be), and visually simple approach to leading you through your day. Ads popping up would certainly take away from this.
There is a potential solution, however.
Most people who cannot afford Tiimo do receive Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in the United States. HCBS typically does not pay for subscription services; however, it can pay for one-time assistive technology purchases.
I would love to see Tiimo come up with a one-time purchase option so people are able to use their HCBS funds to purchase Tiimo. This would open even more options for accessibility, especially for us adults that aren’t keen on carrying around picture pages.
You’ve already heard my bias that Tiimo is the best visual planner startup around, They’ve created a product that is useful every waking hour for me and many people in my life. And they’ve accomplished all of this with an incredibly modest amount of funding from investors.
My only remaining question is this: What could it accomplish with even more investor attention? I imagine quite a bit for a lot of people.