Collaborative work projects have for years suffered from a lack of specific tools capable of effectively managing all aspects of a given project start to finish. Problems with communication, sharing and distribution have plagued projects of all sorts at every level. In the past decade, different products have surfaced that offer piecemeal solutions. But more recently, as cloud based technology and innovation improved, several companies have developed comprehensive project management tools designed for both small business and enterprise solutions customers. These solutions can be integrated into existing customer-specific systems to allow project members to seamlessly collaborate across distance, time and software platforms.
The project management space spans from consumer-based, easy-to-use platforms to powerful enterprise systems, but in this post we'll explore two venture backed project management systems that are a) geared toward small-medium size businesses or teams and b) have recently launched new initiatives.
Founded in 2009 in San Francisco by Justin Rosenstein and the one-time world’s youngest billionaire (and Mark Zuckerberg’s former roommate) Dustin Moskovitz. Asana has steadily grown into a go-to solution at the small- to medium-sized level. Since 2009, Asana has raised $38 million in funding from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and the Founders Fund and have consistently made news with their frequent and innovative developments.
Asana is also flexible, offering free and paid tiers from $50 to $800 per month or more depending on how many seats a group needs. The company boasts “hundreds of thousands of groups and users” and hopes to expand to mobile-first users with its newest iOS app. A quote from Asana’s business chief Kenny Van Zandt in a recent Forbes.com article gets this across: “Mobile was limiting our ability to expose Asana to people, now it can be featured in the App Store and we can promote it a lot more.” With a team of ambitious executives and consistent well received new product developments, Asana seems to be a company that will continue its modest but positive growth into the future.
Asana challenger, Wrike was founded in 2006 in Mountain View, California by Andrew Filev, and is a web-based project management solution with Ticketmaster and Hilton as their highest-profile clients. Last month Wrike released a major update to their web app that will allow them to compete directly with Asana and others. After monitoring usage the usage of its customers, Wrike released a major tweak to its in-app communication that will make life easier for its users. According to an interview with founder and CEO Andrew Filev recently published at TechCrunch, “You shouldn’t have to switch back and forth between work that takes place in a browser and then move it back into your email,” Filev says. “Neither should you have to email work to a client, and then try to coordinate feedback and track version control. This is why people give up on new work tools and head back to email and spreadsheets."
Other new features include the ability to include outside parties to Wrike projects, something the company argues is especially important for agencies that work with their clients. The Wrike team notes that it worked hard to make sure that users from outside a given company can’t get access to any information outside of the project they are involved in.
These examples of high-growth-potential companies in the project management space represent the tip of the iceberg in this size range. The following watchlist will explore the entire segment in detail and we encourage you to manipulate the list at your will.