Founder of Apptoto Frank Cort long thought that he’d move back to Bend. The 1995 Mountain View High School grad headed off to Oregon State for college and then finished his Masters in Computer Science at Stanford.
Frank dove into the Bay Area’s tech community, working as a software engineer for Xobni and then Yahoo, and founding his own startups on the side. The one that took off – Apptoto – he’s recently brought back to Bend. “Bend is all about lifestyle, which we wanted, but then there’s lots of people to talk to about startups, lots of people willing to help and offer advice,” Frank says. “It’s been really good.”
A fateful convo
Apptoto is an automated appointment reminder app. Frank developed the first iteration of his product after talking with the guy who cuts his hair about the money he lost every time someone missed an appointment. “He booked his appointments months out, but if he didn’t call people to remind them the day before, they’d often forget,” Frank says.
So Frank built an app that connected to his hair stylist’s Google calendar, and sent automatic reminder phone calls to clients. That was in 2010. People loved the solution, and began signing up. “It’s really for any business that lives and dies by their appointment book,” Frank says.
By 2014, Apptoto was making enough money that Frank quit his job at Yahoo to go full-time with his own startup. Frank’s bootstrapped business was – and is – making money, with a robust roster of clients that includes healthcare offices, law firms, financial advisors and more.
Frank and his wife moved to Central Oregon last July. “Now that we have kids we wanted more of a family lifestyle and we were excited to come back,” he says. Apptoto opened an office in Bend shortly after, and are headed for a new space above Silverado in downtown next month.
The three-employee company continues to grow. While the appointment reminder space is fairly crowded, Frank says that Apptoto has gained a loyal following because the product connects to whatever calendar system that businesses are using. “You don’t have to switch systems, Apptoto just works in the background,” he says.
The company is now hiring for three positions: a software engineer, a sales engineer and a UI/UX designer. Frank notes that Apptoto will likely remain bootstrapped – and focused on growing here in Bend.
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].