Qortex is attempting to solve the productivity paradox. The social productivity app entered beta today, taking on Yammer, Basecamp, Asana, and dozens of others to become the best workflow and collaboration system.

Many apps and services claim to make people and teams more productive, but whether they actually achieve that goal is questionable. This is the productivity paradox — the contradiction between innovation and advances in computing and the slow growth of productivity. Qortex was founded to tackle this problem.

The software is designed to be “the brain” of an organization. It pulls bits and pieces from other workflow products, like messaging, file-sharing, project management tools, and calendars and pulls them into one cohesive system organizes information in an easy-to-access manner. The system was developed to rescue people from “e-mail hell,” improve transparency, and enable open communication. It emerged out of Tokyo-based app development firm The Plant. Qortex started off as an internal effort to manage its own projects and improve communication, but the team quickly realized that a greater opportunity existed.

“We wanted to get away from e-mail based communication and tried a mix of best-of-breed solutions,” said product development manager Kilian Muster in an interview with VentureBeat. “We found that this approach didn’t work because all the data was in scattered and it took quite an effort to manage the deluge of information. Huge streams of communication were flowing by like data down the river. Those other platforms treat sharing as if it is an end in-and-of-itself. We thought there had to be a better way.”

Qortex’s interface is simple, but the system is full of features like chats, information exchanges, a news feed, smart reminders, to-do lists with set deadlines, and wiki-like knowledge pools. Users can “tuck away” information they have read already or that isn’t relevant to maintain a tighter flow of information. The system uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology to identify different priorities for different types of information and tasks, and all information is time-stamped and categorized so it is accessible down the road.

“We have quite a roadmap planned and are going to dive deeper into the A.I. and how it can be used to help companies build on information and evolve an idea,” said The Plant founder Anatole Varin. “We recycle the same ideas over and over again, and people talk about the same things. We want to be able to connect all these dots to move conversations forward.”

Qortex worked with multiple multinational organizations and 1,000 registered users during the private beta period and now hopes to grow. Muster and Varin said they are passionate about the product and confident that it is better than existing options, but he said one of the biggest challenges will be convincing people to switch. Most organizations are already using one or a series of products, and getting people to start using a different system is difficult, particularly in a crowded sector. It is focusing its efforts in Asia to start.

Qortex is funded by The Plant and based in Tokyo.


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