Huddle is another company building collaboration software for businesses, combining social networking, document-editing, and other features. It has just raised $4 million from investors.
Huddle joins a large number of software companies trying to improve communication between coworkers, including Microsoft, Google and startups like 37Signals and Zoho, and many others.
London-based Huddle lets you make lists, leave notes for others, see who else is online at the same time, and store versions of Microsoft Word and Excel documents. It’s designed for groups of people to work together in a “huddle.”
The catch with such software is that people who really care about it typically have very specific features they want. Many people are using Google Docs, for example, because it includes features like live-editing so you can see others’ edits to a document just seconds after they type them. However, Google doesn’t have a chat feature that lets multiple people chat together online at the same time during the editing process. That forces the group to rely on some other software to fill their needs — so there’s a constant mixing and matching. Huddle faces the issue of building out features for all types of businesses, risking not fully satisfying any one niche.
With so many other competitors, it’s not clear how the company can differentiate itself in the long run. If Microsoft were to build a web-based word processor or web-based spreadsheet application, designed to use Facebook user information, for example, people could work together without having to build out their real-life social networks like they do on Huddle.
However, Huddle has carefully focused on enterprise companies, offering this long list of features that includes webinars and onsite training sessions. The software is already being used by companies such as Edelman, Reuters, even Jazeera Airways and UNICEF.
Other startups such as HiveLive, which launched last week, have a similar vision. HiveLive wants to be the glue that holds together users’ social network identities and is even seeking a patent for the idea, reports PC World.
Projects like Google’s OpenSocial may offer interesting opportunities for such startups. Participating sites include business social network LinkedIn, enterprise software company Oracle, and web-based enterprise software company Salesforce. One can imagine a Huddle application running in LinkedIn, for example, that shows you all of the documents your co-workers in Huddle are working on.
Google itself, of course, has an equal opportunity to integrate its own applications with social networks.
Huddle has received $4 million funding from Eden Ventures.