Cozi, Climbing Ranks of Consumer Software, Looks to Deliver on Family-Focused Vision in Mobile Market

3/17/10Follow @gthuang

As Don Corleone said in The Godfather, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” If that’s true, then a Seattle company called Cozi should help quite a few people become real men.

Cozi is a tech startup focused on family-related software for the home. That includes things like online calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists, message boards, and family journals for sharing family memories and photos. These are the kinds of things, the company reasons, that busy families want to have to keep the trains running on time, and which most still do with paper and pen, or a physical bulletin board. Cozi puts it all online.

But there’s something deeper here. Cozi’s mission statement is to help family members improve their relationships with each other, through its software. I’m paraphrasing, but this is essentially the company’s 10-year “audacious goal.” It’s posted on the wall of Cozi’s meeting room at its headquarters in the Smith Tower near Pioneer Square. The place feels like a comfortable living room, as CEO and co-founder Robbie Cape pointed out when he showed me around. I came away with a strong sense that Cozi is a family, not just a company. And that if Cape were in a Godfather movie, you’d call him Don Cozi. (I’m kind of hoping that sticks.)

In any case, a sweeping mission to help families is all good—and atypical of tech startups, where 80-hour weeks and product focus are the norm. But it’s one thing to have a noble mission, and another to deliver on it. That’s why Cozi is interesting right now: for the first time, it can see a viable path to achieving its mission. “We are only now starting to see signs that the vision we had when we started the company can become a reality,” Cape says.

Cozi seems to have surged ahead of most startups in family organization software, including Fircle, Famundo, and Nesting.com. Seattle-based Trumba started as an online calendar service for families, but has switched to focusing on businesses and other organizations. Meanwhile, most big companies like Microsoft and Google don’t focus on family software because to them, the market is too small.

Being privately held, Cozi doesn’t disclose its financial performance and growth rates. But here are some hints of success. Cozi’s software now comes pre-loaded on all Dell machines. It has … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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