PBWorks, a startup that provides collaboration tools to companies and organizations looking to complete projects with a lot of moving parts and remote workers, has updated its platform of offerings, which now includes user profiles (giving it more of a social-network feel), a micro-blogging feature, and email integration.
Before now, PBWorks provided a system for document sharing and general product management. It says social-networking features should help bring workers even closer together, speeding up project times and efficiency. For example, the new user profiles will make it easy to find anyone working on any project, their contact information and exact department or role. These profiles will even show what contributions they made to projects, including edits to documents and file uploads. That way, if someone else is trying to track down the source of a change, it’s easy to find.The microblogging component, which PBWorks compares to both Yammer and Twitter, is meant to facilitate free-form brainstorming. Users can throw out ideas and reply to those posed by others for everyone on the project or in the company to see. The benefits here are that all changes register in real time, making it easier to see how discussions are progressing than it is on traditional message boards or through email correspondence.
The new email integration also feeds into the same concept. Now, workers will be able to send emails to a specific address to add them to discussions taking place on the platform. In wiki-form, these emails will appear — with attachments in tact — and other users will be able to comment on them. This is meant to make email a more tightly-knit part of an employee’s central, daily workspace.
Current users of PBWorks Project Edition and Legal Edition can install the upgrade for free. It will also be pre-installed in versions of the software that sell starting today. The company brings in revenue by selling its Project Edition program for $20 per user per month, and its Legal Edition for $50 per attorney per month. The software has proved especially useful to law firms that have many attorneys working on the same complex cases.
Based in San Mateo, Calif., PBWorks’ collaboration tools are used by at least 900,000 workers across 50,000 companies. I has raised $2.45 million to date from Seraph Group, Mohr Davidow Ventures and independent investor Ron Conway. Vice president of marketing, Chris Yeh, has also chipped in.