Must-Have Features Of Workplace Collaboration Startups

What Are Workplace Collaboration Startups?

Workplace collaboration keeps evolving. This term originates from the development of project management and today is on everyone’s lips. With the COVID pandemic and lockdown throughout the world, different companies search for effective ways of doing their business. Many have already started to use new ways of communication and collaboration.

Coronavirus along with technological development caused the appearance of startups that develop software as a service (SaaS) products for workplace collaboration. Those who already offer such products, keep improving them with added functionalities. The demand for such software is very high. In this post, you will learn about these products and startups, their types and functionalities, some interesting facts about the development and testing. 

Regardless of the industry, workplace collaboration is an excellent way to organize effective work, ensure capabilities to share documents, plans, and ideas, and exchange emails with your coworkers. People can manage meetings, learning sessions, schedule calls, plan and track their time, and do lots of other things. 

Collaboration tools work as accelerators of productive work. Depending on their type, they offer dozens of features for joint work, communication, project and task management, design development. Below are the major types of workplace collaboration. 

Types of Workplace Collaboration 

Workplace collaboration startups create software that is aimed to solve the common problems faced by every business: lack of communication between employees and teams, no proactiveness in problem solving, no technology tools that ensure effective interaction between people, chaos and mess in work. 

Startups that create the apps for productive teams usually focus on one-two major functionalities. And today, we can distinguish the following categories of workplace collaboration startups and their products, respectively:

  1. Design
  2. Documentation
  3. Context and search 
  4. Internal tools
  5. Meetings and calendar
  6. Messaging
  7. Video 
  8. Project and task management

Source: Merci Victoria Grace

These startups in the picture are just examples of successful workplace collaboration startups and the list of such is not limited to this image. 

Funding for Workplace Collaboration Startups in 2020 - The Biggest Players

Promising startups usually receive large funding for development. Let’s see, what’s new in 2020. 

$10.5M Raised by Unito in 2020 to Make Collaboration Apps Interact with Each Other

Unito is a Montreal-based startup creating software that is aimed to help collaboration tools communicate with each other. The software should provide capabilities for people to keep their favorite tools while using the software formalized in the company. Unito synchronizes tasks, comments, deadlines across various tools employees use while an employee can keep using his favorite tool. 

Unito can be implemented for project management, software development, team collaboration, remote work, customer support, pre-sales. It provides a lot of valuable features like attachment streaming, rules, only sync new tasks, flow duplication, live sync, text formatting, workflow status, permissions, and many more. Current integration capabilities include Trello, Jira, Asana, Wrike, Basecamp, GitHub, ZenDesk, Bitbucket, Hubspot, and GitLab. 

$12M Raised by Air to Build New Software and Develop Their Cloud Solutions

Air was founded in 2017. It is a workplace collaboration startup that developed a product acting as “Slack” and a search engine. The solutions work as a helper in visual collaboration in such teams as sales or marketing. Air is presented as an alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox. It can be applied for creative requests and reviews, social media planning, content strategy, brand guidelines, and content transfer. 

Air has already proved to be loved by its users as 95% of people who tried migrated from Google Drive and Dropbox. 

118$M Raised by Mural to Develop Their Visual Collaboration Software Product

Mural is a collaboration workplace for creative work offering a wide range of useful features like sticky notes, frameworks, icons, drawing, images, and many more. Mural allows for running meetings and workshops, communicating with team members in multiple ways, building workflows, etc. The product is already used by engineering, design, sales, consulting, and other businesses. For each industry, Mural offers specific templates to start visual collaboration. 

Functionalities Workplace Collaboration Startups Offer

Workplace collaboration startups raise funding because they offer an innovative approach to joint work. They might be enriched with killer features and functionalities which make them differ from existing tools. Let’s see what features these products offer. We will use the information about functionalities found on the original startup products’ websites to illustrate what they truly provide to their customers. The lists contain only the most basic features. Complete information can be found on products’ websites. 

Messaging Startup Example: Quill, an open-source text editor

  • Cross-platform
  • Built for developers
  • Works with JSON
  • Customizable
  • Multi-modular 
  • Used for personal and commercial projects
  • Editable syntax
  • Many formats

Video and voice: Loom, a video messaging tool

  • Screen, voice, and face capturing and sharing
  • Fast recording
  • Easy editing
  • Instant sharing
  • Controlled viewing
  • Reach reactions
  • Cross-platform

Meeting and calendar: Calendy, an online appointment tool

  • All types of meetings
  • Notifications
  • Daily limits
  • Minimum scheduling notice
  • Time zone detection
  • Customization
  • Buffers
  • Embedded

Documentation: Slab, a knowledge base software

  • Content creation
  • Content organization
  • Search
  • Integration with other tools

Project management: Asana, a project management tool

  • Planning
  • Content development
  • Timelining
  • Boards
  • Customizable workflows
  • Status monitoring
  • Workload management

Examples and Costs of Workplace Collaboration Apps Development

Many startups tend to expand and integrate with adjacent software products. For example, a messaging startup would likely expand after a successful launch, develop and integrate with project management tools. 

Have you ever thought of how startups develop their products? Everything starts with an idea which should be further verified. Startups analyze the market to define the target consumers of their future software products. They identify market demands to see how valuable the product would be, analyze competitors, and check out features of similar existing software. The process is very critical as it affects further development. 


Here are some examples of successful collaboration tools that can inspire any team to develop something better and more effective. 

Teams by Microsoft - a collaboration platform that can be easily integrated with other Microsoft tools. 

Slack - a messaging application offering various capabilities for collaboration including communication in channels, files storage, integration with third-party applications you use. 

Trello - a project management system offering boards for effective task assignment and monitoring, commenting, and integration with Slack. 

Once the idea is verified and a startup has a market fit analysis, the team decides how they will build the software and whether they have enough resources and skills on boards. If they lack those, they would likely search for external developers to outsource their project to them. 

The development part would likely begin with prototyping or building a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the software and get feedback from its first users. One more important stage in the new product development is changing the right monetization model.

Traditionally, startups choose a subscription model or a freemium model. The former means you need to pay a subscription fee according to the offered pricing plan that usually has several options. The letter, freemium model, means that you can use the software for free. 

Must-Have Features of Collaboration Tools

Messaging and chatting. It is hard to imagine efficient collaboration without chatting with your colleagues. Every day you might have dozens of questions to ask your coworkers, solve some minor issues without assigning tasks or making calls. May workplace collaboration tools, for example Asana for project management, don’t have this feature. And users have to use some other tools 

Search. Search option comes in handy when you need to find some important message dated months ago. A lot of collaboration tools don’t allow for keyword searching and people find it quite uncomfortable scrolling your chat history over and over. Moreover, many apps don’t keep the long history of messaging or require additional fee or a special pricing plan for this functionality. 

Read more => How To Test Search Forms

Video and voice. Complex projects and tasks require regular meeting and discussing in teams. Messaging or emailing don’t work here. Workplace collaboration software must provide video calls and voice messaging capabilities to streamline effective planning and problem-solving within your organization.

File Sharing. Attaching an image to the task or sharing an instant message with a screenshot are common things in everyday collaboration. Many modern applications offer integrations with your Google Drive or Dropbox for easy and quick file sharing. 

Mentioning and task assigning. Mentioning is a perfect feature when you would like to mention a person and invite him or her to review your document, comment on your task, answer your question. Using this feature helps avoid disturbing a person by sending private messages to him or her. Task assigning allows for creating tasks that should be done, adding descriptions that explain what you need to be done, and assigning a person that should complete this task. Here you can set the deadline and monitor the progress. 

Screen sharing. Today, when we have already met the difficulties of remote work caused by the COVID pandemic, screen sharing functionality is a must-have of any workplace collaboration product. In a meeting, you would likely need to present your work, show the issues you face, and demonstrate what has been done. For that, you will need to share your screen with your teammates. 

Notifications. Business collaboration applications usually have instant notifications to notify employees of recent updates, changes, modification, requests, and many other important things. You won’t miss anything with notification, however, if you would like to have a rest or you don’t want anything to disturb you from work, you may turn them off. 

Integration. Often, corporate culture provides no choice to employees and they have to use the predefined software programs for collaboration. However, today, there are alternatives offering the integration and synchronization with your favorite tools while using corporate software suites. Many collaboration tools also provide integration capabilities for effective work. The biggest integrator is Slack offering more than 800 integrations with various tools. 

How Much It Cost to Build a Workplace Collaboration Tool

The cost of a workplace collaboration tool usually depends on various factors:

  1. Expertise and skills you need to develop a tool.
  2. The number of developers and their rates, their seniority level.
  3. Your deadlines. Startups have fast time-to-market, so the timeline is tough.
  4. The number of functionalities your software should have.
  5. Innovation, new technology used.
  6. Testing time and results.

The lowest price for the collaboration workplace software starts from $50,000 and the highest may reach millions. The time needed to develop an app varies from months to a year. 

How to Test Workplace Collaboration Startups

No matter what software product you develop, it must be tested to ensure a high level of quality and performance for its end-users. Testing for startup companies is exceptionally important because their success depends directly on how the user-friendly, functional, and useful the product is. As for any other software, for startup products you might need all types of testing including stress testing, usability testing, unit testing, and many other. 

The main things you should focus on while testing workplace collaboration startup products include the following:

  1. Does the software function as expected?
  2. Is the software quite user-friendly? Is it easy to use?
  3. Are there any defects?

Testing helps build software fast and efficiently. It is very critical for startups as they more than any other company need to introduce their products to the market as fast as possible.

That’s because market and consumer demands grow rapidly and change with technological evolution. What you need today might become unnecessary tomorrow. Finding a reliable testing team is as important as finding an expert development team. At Apphawks, we know how to test startup products and help your team reach tangible results soon. We act as testing partners to ensure the high quality of your collaboration tool. So, feel free to contact us for professional manual and automated testing services.     

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Grzegorz Kłos
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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