NBC Invests in Online Scheduling Startup

NBC Universal is now backing HourTown, a year-and-a-half old startup focused on online scheduling for small businesses.

HourTown announced the $1 million in new funding today, from NBC along with Baseline Ventures, Hatch Ventures and a handful of Silicon Valley angel investors -- some of the same companies, HourTown's founder points out, that initially got behind Google and PayPal in their early days.

HourTown lets clients manage appointments with small business owners through its Web-based interface -- so if you were, say, a music instructor, you could have students log directly onto the site to schedule or change appointments. Founder Ryan Donahue describes it as "Web 2.0 for your yoga instructor."

The service is available in a limited capacity for free, or with expanded features starting at about $20 per month. HourTown is based in Palo Alto and launched in early 2007.