Teambox, the Barcelona-based collaboration platform taking on companies like Asana and Basecamp, today unveiled version four of its platform, with new integrations for popular cloud-based filesharing and file creation services like Dropbox, Box and Google Docs. The update also brings new features designed to give users even less reason to jump out to external tools, including a group chat feature that works like 37signals’ Campfire back channel chatrooms, and a Notes offering designed specifically with large teams in mind.
Teambox CEO Dan Schoenbaum thinks that the time is right to capitalize on the consumerization of IT, and these additions are designed specifically with that in mind, to increase the company’s integration with tools like Dropbox that have seen tremendous success in terms of bottom-up adoption in the enterprise.
“Instead of just doing microblogging, like Yammer, or tasks, like Asana, or notes like Evernote, we built one platform that brings all those things together,” Schoenbaum said, talking about why he thinks the approach Teambox takes is the right way to tackle enterprise collaboration. “And we take what I call an 80/20 approach, where we may not give you everything that Evernote gives you, but we give you good enough functionality that’s integrated with a lot of other apps, and we think that’s what’s driving our growth.”
While others are more concentrated on providing hooks that allow outside tools to integrate into their platform (which Teambox also does), Schoenbaum explained that it’s also part of the company’s strategy to identify what its users need built right into the product, and they aren’t afraid to follow the good examples set by others in doing so.
“Evernote is a great product, I love it, but what we wanted to do was take Evernote and make it better, so we built Evernote for teams,” he said. “So if you have an editor or somebody on your team and you wanted to share your thoughts on a piece, you can write it down, we store it for you, somebody can iterate and add to that. Instead of doing that over 10 or 15 emails, we now enable you to do that in Teambox, where you’re already sharing your calendar, your data, all your apps, etc.”
The new group chat feature should also appeal to a lot of users, as it gives people room for more real-time interaction, complete with integrated image and file sharing. For spontaneous break-out sessions where you don’t want to have to think about what you’re posting ahead of time, and for actual conversations that require something other than asynchronous replies, it provides a better venue than Teambox’s Yammer-like updates stream.
To date, Teambox has already done well at growing its user base. Since its launch in 2010, it’s managed to accumulate some top-name clients, including Griffin, Penn State University, BP and Lego. Schoenbaum says that’s all happened thanks to relatively little in the way of marketing, but now the company is ready to strike out much more aggressively. “We’ve gone really far with no marketing and we’re really excited about it, and now it’s time to hit the market hard,” he said.
The biggest hurdle the startup faces is convincing customers to switch over from legacy and competing systems, but taking the angle of being a product that either gives you the choice to plug into other tools, or rely entirely on Teambox itself for many of the features people are looking for is a smart way to overcome that challenge.