Today Quebec City-based Crowdbase announced it has secured $650,000 in funding from Real Ventures, iNovia Capital, and Martin-Luc Archambault to launch its platform enabling that aims to help enterprises organize, index, and share knowledge.
Crowdbase aims to make managing content and internal resources a more straight-forward process, in addition to allowing employees to build up their reputations and increase collaboration among team members. The company plans to use the funding to invest in developing new features for their product and growing their team.
The idea for the company came about when founder Albert Dang-Vu encountered issues with knowledge transfer and training employees at his previous startup, Mirego, a mobile and iPad app development company. They built the tool internally and after realizing the platform’s potential, Albert left Mirego to focus his efforts on Crowdbase. “Helping people ask questions was a big challenge for new employees, because people were working from home, sending emails and we wanted to reduce the overload of email. By using Crowdbase, you can send questions from your iPhone, from the platform with answers right away, but mostly organize that content into topic pages so it’s not only in the status feed like enterprise social networks,” Dang-Vu said in an interview.
The platform allows users to post links to articles which Crowdbase will process and suggest related links to start building and organizing around a certain topic making it easier to archive content. It also allows users to post notes that employees can use to share their opinions, advice, and ideas in addition to the ability to attach documents and pictures. There’s also a Q&A feature that lets employees post questions to coworkers and bring together internal experts to respond and vote for the best answer. Interactions such as questions, answers, links, and articles posted are archived and analyzed by Crowdbase and processed into knowledge and expertise graphs, where individuals can also build a knowledge profile page with indicators on what subject areas their their expertise lies in, letting everyone know where and who to go to based on their inquiry and interest.
“We help people organize information with suggestions on where to categorize content, and from there, we analyze all interactions between users and the users and content to build a knowledge graph and a expertise graph. We’re then able to suggest people that this might interest them, or you might want to talk to this person to learn more,” Dang-Vu added.
Currently the service is free, but Crowdbase will be rolling out premium paid features such as additional management features for admins, and more visual and tracking features for content. The company is primarily targeting large enterprises who have a big base of employees, and by extension a large pool of knowledge. The company will need to convince enterprises why it one-ups companies that provide cloud storage for internal documents, like Google Drive and Dropbox, or are more geared towards providing an enterprise social network and knowledge-sharing platform like Yammer.
“We don’t focus on creating the knowledge, today we allow people to share knowledge, but our focus is not being the best sharing tool like Google Docs. We prefer to focus much more on organizing content so that they can use it later. For instance, other players in enterprise help you create documents and put them into folders, but you’re not creating something easy for others to learn from in the future,” Dang-Vu said.
The company has also tested an iPhone app more geared toward the Q&A feature of their product, and they’re also planning to launch an API for developers, and plan to integrate with document storage service providers like Google Drive, so users of their service can upload content from a variety of sources. Crowdbase is tackling the information overload problem for enterprises, but they’ll need to work with other enterprise social applications if they truly want to be a go-to source for knowledge management.