Podio Launches Its Workspace Collaboration Platform, App Store And App Builder
Like a souped up Yammer with its own App store attached, Dutch online workspace Podio launches to the public today after two years of being in beta. In the same space as Box.net and 37Signals, Podio aims to be a complete work platform for enterprise — sort of like all inclusive web-based Intranet for companies.
Founded by Anders Pollas, Jon Froda and Kasper Hultin, the Dutch startup took up Tommy Ahlers (who is best known for selling ZYB to Vodaphone in 2008) as a CEO and investor in August, all in all raking in $4.5M in funding.
The principle behind Podio is that all work tasks, from expense reports to hiring, happen within the app — And unlike the more social networking focused collaboration platforms, on Podio, you don’t follow users but Spaces. To create a new Space on Podio, click on New Space, name the Space (TechCrunch, for example) and invite users. Each Space comes with baseline fields for Activity, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks and an Add App link at the top left.
Your profile on Podio allows you to see your Frequently Used Spaces, Contacts and Calendar on the right, with an activity stream of all actions on the left. To visit a space you click on its name and you can view all actions in the activity stream, including inline files as well custom widgets that you add with the Add Widget button.
While it’s somewhat unwieldy from a design standpoint (It will take you a long time to figure out where every thing is on Podio) Podio’s killer app in a sense is its Add App button at the top navigation bar. What differentiates Podio from the rest of the contenders in the space is this option, which leads to a Podio App store (for a more detailed explanation of why the App Store is a boon, check out Stowe Boyd’s analysis here).
In the Podio App store, users can add App bundles for specific workflow purposes like a CRM Management tool, Project Management tool or individual Apps like like Candidates, an app to manage job candidates, Twitter, an app to monitor tweets and Bugs, an app for internal bug reporting.
If one of the 200 Apps in the store or a modified version doesn’t fulfill your workflow need, Podio allows workers to custom build their own apps, mixing and matching modules like a status box, fields for notes, and fields to upload images.
Already scooping up clients like Greenpeace, InMobi and Rebate Networks, Podio has hit the ground running in terms of appealing to users; “Instead of using a cumbersome combination of Yammer, Box.net and SharePoint, we just use Podio – and get all those functionalities in one place” InMobi Biz Dev VP Amit Gupta raves. Jeez.
The service will monetize on a freemium, and is currently free for companies with 10 and under users. The premium prixing begins at 99.99 a month for up to 25 users. Podio itself currently has 20,000 users, 8,000 organizations registered, and more than 10,000 seats sold on the system so far. iPhone and Android Apps are also available and an Air App is in the works for those that prefer desktop clients.
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