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The remote work ecosystem at a glance – nine categories shape the industry

Covid-19 and worldwide social distancing accompanying the pandemic has been normalizing remote work at an unprecedented rate in 2020.

While in the past years, enterprise collaboration tools have become a bright spot for tech with an impressive number of high-profile IPOs from companies such as Slack, Atlassian, and Zoom, the opportunity is growing much faster now imagined.

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Remote collaborative work is quickly increasing globally. Zoom has just reported that its video conferencing platform’s daily average users (DAUs) jumped from 10M to 200M in just 3 months.

Image Source: Imago Images

Break down of the ecosystem

We take a close look at the remote workforce ecosystem and map relevant startups onto the following categories:

(1) Messaging & Chat:

Relative newcomers such as Threads and Quill threaten more established players such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.[emaillocker]

Threads ($11M in total disclosed funding) and Quill ($15M), both based in San Francisco, CA, are taking on established players like Slack and Microsoft Teams with their chat and communication platforms. Companies like Dialpad (funded with $121M) work on enterprise voice and telephony solutions. Also in this category are startups like Yac (obtained funding: $1.8M), which offers a voice-based enterprise chat tool.

(2) Video Conferencing:

In this category startups such as Fuze and Around threaten established players such as Zoom and Skype. challenging enterprise video apps like Zoom and Skype. Fuze is already funded with $481M while Around which has secured $5.2M so far enables video meetings and recently raised a Series A round with backing from Initialized Capital and Naval Ravikant. Enterprise video app Loom ($45M in funding) enables asynchronous video messaging in workplaces.

(3) Documentation & Knowledge: 

Companies in this category offer software to track internal processes or make wikis (websites that allow collaborative editing), similar to Atlassian’s Confluence product. For example, Notion (funding: $67M), which was most recently valued at $2B during its Series A, makes a documentation hub for teams.

(4) Virtual Office: 

The virtual office category encompasses companies offering tools that act as a “digital water cooler” where workers meet and collaborate.

Tandem valued at $8.8M is a virtual office that enables workers to see what teammates are doing in real-time and jump in on projects. Spatial valued at $23M provides a digital workspace adding AR/VR.

(5) Project Management:

This category is mainly comprised of startups that provide tools to manage tasks and to-dos. Monday.com with funding of $234M is the most well-funded in the group and is valued at around $2B. In addition, there are a number of competitors such as Asana (funded with $212M) and Mavenlink (funded with $117M), as well as newer names like Hive ( funded with $16M).

(6) Productivity & Workspace:

This category encompasses light tools and add-ons that make remote work more efficient. There are novel calendar apps such as Clockwise ($11M) or scheduling software such as Mixmax ($12M) and Calendly ($0.4M). Furthermore, SSO tools like OneLogin ($162M) help workers save time on logins while Focusmate ($0.8M) and Motion ($0.2M) develop tools to reduce distractions.

(7) Collaborative Design: 

This category encompasses startups making design tools — often emulating programs like Photoshop, PowerPoint, and Final Cut — that feature real-time collaboration similar to a Google Doc. Figma ($83M) and InVision ($351M) are both prototyping tools, while startups like Frame.io ($84M) enable collaborative video editing.

(8) Collaborative Software Dev: 

Companies here help software developers to work more efficiently. For example, Clubhouse ($39M) is a specialized project management suite, while Linear ($4.2M) makes an issue tracking system.[/emaillocker]

(9) Team Analytics: 

Alongside project management tools, startups in this category track and provide high-level insights around engagement and communication. For example, Range ($8.3M) helps strengthen culture by tracking check-ins.


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