6:38 - Working for Flipboard in 2011
18:16 - Hacking a calendar extension
22:51 - Getting into Y Combinator
39:00 - The “Batman” life of solo founders
56:58 - Getting acquired by Notion
Raphael Schaad is the founder and CEO at Cron, a next-generation calendar software. Raphael holds an masters from MIT and a bachelors from the University of Applied Sciences Bern. He previously was a designer and engineer at Flipboard and a researcher at the MIT Media Lab.
He started working for Flipboard back in 2011, which meant moving to Palo Alto. Raphael remembers that back then, Apple was still a much smaller player than Microsoft, Steve Jobs lived on the same street as Raphael, and the Facebook team still operated from next to the Stanford campus. The tech scene, in general, was a whole lot smaller.
Early on in his professional life, Raphael noticed that all the high-achievers around him were very intentional about their calendars, but never fully satisfied with the calendar software they used, and tried to compensate for this by adding extensions from third party apps. Apple, Microsoft, Google … They all fell short, and companies like Calendly seemed more like a calendar feature than a calendar itself. So, Raphael got to hacking together calendar extensions to turn his calendar into pro-mode, and nowadays Cron includes features like availability sharing, team overlays, time zones, multiple accounts, a menu bar calendar, multi-select flows, dark mode, and lots of keyboard shortcuts.
Cron was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch, and though the experience was cut short by COVID (canceling their demo day), Raphael still benefited from it by laser focusing for 10 weeks straight with like-minded individuals. Cron was then launched in early access mode, both because they wanted to optimize for learning and because they had already gathered a very long waiting list from initial word of mouth success.
Cron raised $3.5M in a seed round in April 2020 and was acquired by Notion in June 2022. Head over to to cron.com for early access.
"Knowing that Steve Jobs lived on the same block as me definitely infused me with an adventurous energy that was very special, back then."
"All the high-achievers were religious about their calendars, but they all complained about their calendar software."
"Participating in Y Combinator means, in all likelihood, sitting in the same room as 5 unicorns and the next Mark Zuckerberg."