Collabor’s Software for Outward Collaboration at Businesses Ramps Up with First Outside Funding
This article was originally posted on http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2011/11/10/collabors-software-for-outward-collaboration-at-businesses-ramps-up-with-first-outside-funding/
It’s a big month for Collabor, a Maynard, MA-based maker of software that powers online communities—for banks, nonprofits, manufacturers and a slew of industries in between. The company is working on closing its first ever outside funding round and has just cross the 1-million-user mark across the sites its technology powers.
The five-year-old startup is working on collaboration software—a space that’s occupied by players large (Microsoft) and small (startups like Wiggio). Its big target, unlike many others, says CEO and founder Sandeep Kaujalgi, is organizations that are looking to collaborate with players beyond the company walls, rather than internal organizational collaboration.
“Our focus is almost solely on a business reaching out to other businesses, customers, stakeholders, membership organizations,” Kaujalgi says.
Collabor’s software, called Work 2.0, plugs into an organization’s existing databases. But Collabor prides itself in creating completely customized designs and interfaces for each client, depending on their business needs and audience. Within an organization, different types of users will have completely different functions available to them, based on the user profiles set up in the system.
“All collaboration is built on who the user is,” Kaujalgi says. “Our product looks completely different from company to company.” Work 2.0 offers functions such as sharing reports, polls and quizzes, photos, calendars, and user forums, and automatically translates content written in one language into the language of the user who will be reading it.
One of Collabor’s clients is Connected Living, a provider of online sites for helping seniors in residential communities keep in touch with their families from afar. The Work 2.0 software powers an interface for seniors that involves large buttons and colorful graphics, for an audience not used to Web browsing.
Fair Factories Clearinghouse, an organization helping to promote ethical and responsible manufacturing practices. The Collabor-created platform for that organization involves plug-ins for helping member companies track things like the location of factories and their audit histories, and share that information with others. It’s an interface with heavy analytics and business tools that looks vastly different from the seniors’ communication tool, but it’s powered by the same Collabor software.
Collabor has 65-plus business customers, including Capital One, Nokia, Visa and Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts. And it’s in the process of closing a round of angel funding, says Kaujalgi (He declined to reveal the exact amount or identity of the investors just yet).
The roughly 50-person company charges an initial fee for setting up Work 2.0 (which also has a mobile version), and a monthly fee for additional software modules that the customer selects. Many software-as-a-service providers charge clients per user per month, but with the Collabor model, the more the users there are, the per-head cost for each user within an organization actually decreases, Kaujalgi says.
The company has certainly gained some traction with its current customer base, and it’s hoping the new money will give it an extra turbo charge, Kaujalgi says.
“It’s a community with a purpose,” Kaujalgi says. “Networking is the purpose. Our entire focus is how can we take this audit platform and collaboration community, and get companies all across the world to be sharing best practices.”