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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.

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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