Hera (YC S21) – macOS app to prepare, join and take notes in meetings

Hi HN, we're Bruno and Louise, the founders of Hera (https://hera.so)! Over the past 5 months, we have built a MacOS desktop app to prepare, join, and run meetings without the grunt work. Basically, we try to help busy knowledge workers have good meetings without spending all day preparing or scrambling to find back that note in Apple Notes.

We were our first users. As a PM, I was spending an unreasonable amount of time preparing user research interviews and kick-off meetings and sharing summaries to the team. A good 45-min meeting would effectively cost me about 2 hours of mental bandwidth. The private beta we launched 4 months ago helped us find good ways to attack the problem:

Meetings are broken partly because they are seen as isolated entities in calendar and note-taking tools. We want to make each meeting live next to other related meetings. Kind of like a thread of emails, but for your meetings (think of your weekly product meeting or one-on-one).

There is a missed opportunity to automate low-value repetitive tasks as well. Let's say you're interviewing customers for something, your calendar is filled with meetings called "User research with [John]". You should be able to jump into each of these meetings with a template automatically applied, and an easy way to mark highlights to feed a broader source of truth. If you're interested, we've written more extensively about this here: https://medium.com/hera-hq/your-meetings-deserve-an-inbox-no.... Long story short, our users can swiftly prepare, join, and take notes in meetings.

We were pleasantly surprised by the willingness of users to prepare for meetings, before it was officially supported in the product. We tried to make this step as easy as possible: one click to use a template and past related meetings are visible during your preparation. Today, about 50% of the meetings in Hera are prepared beforehand.

Unlike tools like Notion, the note-taking experience during meeting is intentionally constrained (only headers and bullet points). We've made it easy to mark a bullet point as a highlight or a next action. To avoid the "I took notes but never used them" curse, we've included easy-to-use exports to Google Docs/Slack/Todoist. To avoid the "What did we say last time?" curse, archived meetings are easily searchable, by title, topic, or attendee.

We have a strong focus on speed and keyboard shortcuts in the app, because taking notes in meetings can be hard :)

Premium version at $10/month, free version has unlimited features and 4 meetings notes/week. We have set up a discount code HERAHN (20% off for the first three months) for the HackerN ews community. Have a try and let us know what you think! Direct link to install the app: https://www.notion.so/Hera-Download-Link-d61273f127314353b1a.... You can also check a 2-min product tour here: https://www.loom.com/share/d227cb4216584d0880be8989b4cb5a59

We would love to get your feedback on the product and hear about the main pain points you have regarding meetings: Is it preparing them, taking notes, refocusing after/before, or just getting value out of them. We'll stick around all day to answer your questions and remarks!

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andrey azimov by Andrey Azimov