Archive for the ‘productivity platform’ tag
We’ve known since February that Microsoft was preparing new touch-enabled Office apps for Windows RT, but now it seems those tablet-focused Office apps won’t have as many features as their desktop siblings.
Microsoft will reportedly remove key features from Office 2013 RT, including VBA scripting, macros, and third-party plug-ins, a source tells The Verge. The move is meant to make the apps more reliable and less of a strain on battery life — which are especially important considerations for Windows RT, since it’s the version of Windows 8 meant for tablets running ARM processors.
Additionally, the Verge says Microsoft will ship a preview version of Office 2013 RT with Windows RT devices, which will likely allow you to view and lightly edit Office documents and will be upgradeable to the full version of Office in early 2013. This isn’t too surprising, since PC makers have been shipping Office preview versions in their computers since the release of Windows XP (and possibly earlier).
Microsoft isn’t commenting on the report, but if it’s true the company could see flack from serious Office users over removing features like VBA scripting. It would be difficult for businesses to adopt Windows RT devices when they don’t know if their Office documents will be fully compatible with the new platform.
And if it lacks key Office features, Windows RT runs the risk of being more of a casual computing platform, rather than the lean and mean productivity platform Microsoft is pitching.
Yesware’s Email Platform For Salespeople Rasies $4 Million From IDG, Google Ventures, Foundry Group & Others
Less than a year after its $1 million seed round, Yesware has closed a $4 million Series A for its productivity platform for salespeople. The new round was led by IDG Ventures and saw participation from seed investors Google Ventures, Foundry Group, and Golden Venture Partners.
The company, which makes a suite of services that work in Gmail and on mobile, offers an alternative way to input to CRM systems and integrates with professional CRMs like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle CRM, Highrise and others. However, Yesware can be also be used as standalone product by smaller businesses or individuals.
Included in the suite are email templates for reaching out to customers and prospects, an email tracking system that lets salespeople know when their messages have been read, reports and analytics that track things like email opens, goal progress, details on prospects and the dollar amount associated with them, and more. It can also help prioritize email conversations by customer engagement, so salespeople know which prospects they should be talking to more.
“One of the big problems with CRMs is getting the data in, and getting the quality of the data in” explains Yesware founder and CEO Matthew Bellows. “All CRMs are basically manual data entry – and by making data so manual and time-intensive, it really degrades the quality the enterprise then gets.”
So with Yesware, he says, the idea is to make CRM entry less reliant on manual data input, and more based on activity. This makes the data more reliable, more accurate and more timely. But, Bellows points out, what makes Yesware unique is that it’s not just focused on creating a better way to input into CRM systems – the most important goal the company has is helping salespeople be more successful. ”If we can help them be more successful, everything else will follow,” he says.
Today, Yesware works as a Chrome or Firefox browser extension that customizes the online Gmail experience, and it also offers some functionality available as an Android app. With the new funding, Yesware will make improvements on Android, and introduce an app for Outlook. The Outlook launch is most critical, as 95% of salespeople use it, Bellows notes. (That may be a slight exaggeration?) Also on the company’s roadmap are iOS and tablet apps, and eventually, other tools that fall outside of email productivity. One concept, for example, is an app focused on doing follow-up calls, where salespeople could keep a prospect list and leave templated audio messages when they reach voicemail.
The company also announced today that it now has 40,000 salespeople using the product, including companies like Yammer, Hubspot, AdRoll, as well as earlier customers KISSmetrics and StackOverflow. The freemium service is really affordable, too – if you reach the limits, you can get more free usage via social sharing, or you can opt to pay $5/month. The challenges, however, in building on top of Gmail or Outlook, for example, is that Yesware is not in charge of the platform it’s based on – one change on the email providers’ side can break the whole Yesware experience. (Incidentally, the original idea back at seed stage was to build an email platform for salespeople, but costs were too high. How sad.)
In addition to funding product developments, Yesware will be using the new infusion of capital to grow its team of eight to fifteen by year-end and move from Cambridge to Boston.
Berlin-based startup 6Wunderkinder has just launched their private beta for their productivity suite Wunderkit. This is an extension to their simple, yet well designed task list manager Wunderlist, which was acclaimed both by early adopters and users.
With Wunderkit the startup is now taking a next step. They’ve stuck to the user experience that, while beautifully crafted on the one hand is surely tricky to get used to, and have taken their core task manager several steps further by wrapping a fully fledged social network around it. Whereas RememberTheMilk had been their primary competitor until now, the company is now directly competing with full virtual workspace apps such as Podio or Asana, all of them trying to re-invent peoples’ work and organize their private and professional lives.
Back in July, a new cloud computing and productivity platform called CX.com raised $5 million from Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures and Hanna Capital, bringing the startup’s total funding to $10 million. This is pretty impressive considering the company largely has been flying under the radar since its launch earlier this year.
But CX is now officially ready to share the official news of their production release, a platform that enables users to backup, synchronize, share, and manage their data in the cloud — from any device to any device.
This includes the ability to sync new, changed, offline or deleted files to all connected computers, maintaining a history for all of your devices as you make changes. What’s more, users can take advantage of realtime backup, synchronized file sharing among groups, across multiple platforms, including desktops, laptops, netbooks, and mobile devices.
CX’s CEO Brad Robertson tells us that, through offering a 10 GB account for free, the company isn’t just trying to launch a lame marketing tactic to entice users, the company wants to make a bolder statement about the industry: That storage and sharing companies don’t have to set a low limit in which users will quickly hit their quote and be forced to pay.
So, CX is giving away 10 GB for free and is only deducting storage space from the group creator, not every single user that the person shares with, nor does it include the size of their unlimited file revisions from their users’ quota. Free services are available for up to three groups, and users receive 10 GB of free storage. For $10 a month, customers can create 10 groups with unlimited group size and take advantage of realtime notifications, with 50 GB of storage. At $20 a month, groups are unlimited, and storage is at 100 GBs.
By being transparents about how much they charge and by offering a realtime collaboration and social graph infrastructure, CX aims to become more than a storage commodity, but a platform that enables users to discover, search, and find their content in realtime.
The new production release also offers all customers groups, even free users, with the capability to add up to 1 million members per group. The company also has a realtime notifications suite and collaboration feature set in limited beta that looks to be launched by the end of the year.
Along with its production release, CX is also announcing that it has added Keith Pardy to its management team. Pardy was the former CMO at RIM, and has previously worked at Coke as well as Nokia. Will Pardy, Chief Product Designer and architect.
CX’s new platform is available with apps for the Web, Mac, PC, iPad, and iPhone, with Android and BlackBerry releases coming before the holidays.
Cx is a personal cloud computing and productivity platform designed as a simple, self-managing system that frees you from the restrictions of any of your individual devices and puts all of your information in a single, safe place that you can reach from anywhere. Cx pulls together all the pieces of your technology life so that you can spend less time managing it and more time living your actual life.
Google Ventures, Foundry Group Put $1M In Yesware, Email Tracking And Productivity Platform For Salespeople
Yesware, a startup that helps track email and improve productivity for salespeople, has raised $1 million in funding from Google Ventures, Foundry Group and other investors.
Yesware is a suite of productivity services that work where salespeople do – in their email and on their phones. The application is available for Gmail and smartphones and provides email analytics, customizable templates and CRM integration to help salespeople close more deals faster. Yesware works in conjunction with a number of popular CRM platforms including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle CRM, Highrise and others.
Yesware includes customizable email templates for every stage of the sales process, from prospecting to closing the deal; automatic synchronization between smail and CRM Systems; activity-cased reporting to provides objective metrics on how individual salespeople build rapport with customers, and email tracking.
The application’s racking features report on the time, number of times, location and platform that the recipient opens an email. Yesware will prioritize email conversations by customer engagement so salespeople can spend more time with interested prospects. The application also comes with a companion Android app.
As Matthew Bellows, CEO and founder of Yesware tells us, the beauty of the application is that it provides both an intelligence and productivity layer on top of Gmail and CRM products.
Yesware for Gmail is free to individual salespeople and available for sales teams, on a per-seat subscription basis. Yesware for Android is available for a one-time purchase price of $4.99 via the Android Market. The company’s customers include KissMetrics, StackOverflow and others. The new funding will be used towards product development.