Welcome to the Overshare, where we talk with other startups and small companies who are breaking the mold and revolutionizing tired industries in unexpected ways. Each post, we’ll feature a different company and focus on a specific aspect of their operation that sets them apart from the pack.
We love morning rituals. But if just one small wrench gets thrown into your routine, it can ruin your whole day. You run out of coffee; cue meltdown. No hot water in the shower; small fit of rage.
But few things can be so disastrous to the fate of your day than failing to check the weather. Forget an umbrella and you spend the day soaking wet in your office chair. Or dress for 60 degrees and sweat through an 80-degree scorcher.
Imagine you had a friend to text you a weather report every single morning, without fail. That’s Poncho. Poncho is an online sidekick designed to take weather data from your specific location and make it personal. That means you don’t have to enter your zip code into weather.com anymore, and better yet, you don’t even have to remember to check. Currently available in 12 US cities (and counting), Poncho has the friendliest weather reports (and hair reports and allergy reports and transit notifications) we’ve ever read. Plus they’re serving up on-point social media with a feed written by a weather-obsessed cat.
We chatted with the Poncho crew about how they’re freshening up boring weather data and making sure you never leave the house without hairspray on a humid day ever again.
We know that Poncho is a product of Betaworks, a start-up studio in NYC, but how exactly was Poncho born?
We kept hearing about the struggle of getting up at the crack of dawn for work and having to analyze what your weather app was telling you. So many numbers, so many icons…which is all fine, but how will you feel when you step outside? Poncho was born from trying to make this daily process a more dynamic and useful one.
So Poncho gives you personalized weather updates via email and text. How is this so different from the traditional weather platforms we’ve always used where you type in a zipcode and get a forecast? What’s going on in the background?
Poncho is more well-rounded than most weather services—it gives you a heads up on the weather and also commute, how your hair will fare on any given day, and whether your allergies might flare up. Poncho can even remind you about the day’s Alternate Side Parking rules. Think of it as a friend who helps you start your day on the right foot.
If we’re going to compare Poncho to weather-only services, the distinction is simple: Poncho has a personality. A few other comedy-based weather apps have launched recently, but their jokes aren’t necessarily tied to the day’s weather conditions. Poncho’s commentary is always on point, specific to each day and location.
Finally, since Poncho is notification-based, info comes to you, so you never have to seek out the information you need to start your day.
One aspect we really love about Poncho is the distinct voice—sassy subject lines and social media that isn’t afraid to bite back a little. You have an endearingly weird sense of humor online and it’s really bold. How does that voice reflect Poncho as a brand? Also...why a cat?
Poncho is that friend you can’t wait to talk to when you get up, and who you are excited to see when you get off work because they tell you exactly what you need to hear and exactly how you want to hear it. Poncho’s voice articulates how everyone feels about the weather with wit and honesty; he’s familiar and intimate, but also unafraid and engaging. Why a cat? Cats spend more time looking outside at a window than dogs.
What’s the toughest thing you guys have encountered while building and growing Poncho’s service? The hardest thing at any given time is the thing you haven’t done before. We find new challenges all the time, from teaching Poncho local dialects to making sure the weather clustering data is functioning correctly.
If you could describe Poncho in just one word, what would it be?
One word to describe Poncho? Buddy.
More wild and in-depth startup secrets can be found on our Overshare series.