fruux Adds Team Collaboration Features, Wants to Be the ‘iCloud for Teams’

BetaKit last covered German startup fruux when it added shared calendars for its cloud-syncing platform, which originally gave users the ability to keep their contacts, events, and calendars synced across any number of device and platforms. Recently, due to requests from existing users and as a natural next step for the product roadmap, the startup has added device-agnostic team collaboration features, looking to tap into the growing trend of bring your own device (BYOD) policies increasingly being adopted in professional settings.

CEO Dominik Tobschall didn’t disclose exact numbers with respect to how well the platform is doing, but he spoke with BetaKit about the latest iteration of what he refers to as this ‘iCloud for teams’ product. “The team product was something we had in mind all along, it was also one of the biggest requests. Because immediately when people started using the sharing features they were asking for, ‘yes this is cool to share with friends or freelancers, but we need something for our company because we want to get rid of our exchange servers,’” said  Tobschall in an interview.

Intended for friends, families, freelancers, and now teams, the startup has been busy adding features like the ability the share address books, create team calendars and team to-do lists, as well as view public calendars with a read-only landing page others can subscribe to. Team members, regardless of what device they use, can now access other team members’ calendars to schedule meetings, or share customer contact information, and quickly add new team members.

The company has a pay-as-you-go freemium model in which basic accounts have all the syncing capabilities but are limited to two shares and three devices, whereas pro accounts provide unlimited sharing and up to 10 devices for €4 per month. A new tier the company added for its team features is also priced at €4 per user per month, and requires a minimum of five members, after which point Tobschall said the company can provide volume discounts.

Additionally, the company’s usage of open standards like CardDAV and CalDAV, which allow syncing across different operating systems, are garnering interest from smaller enterprises according to Tobschall, however, tech giants Google and Apple have showed no signs of slowing down on their own cloud syncing efforts. Google’s usage of those same open standards enables iOS device users to sync their Google Calendars and their contacts via their Gmail contacts. Apple’s iCloud, remains a closed ecosystem, so given that fruux just added support for Windows and BlackBerry devices, the service could continue to have appeal among individuals and teams who use other devices.

“With Apple you’re in Apple’s ecosystem, with iCloud it’s hard to break out whenever you want to add an Android or even a BlackBerry device, and many other devices that support CardDAV and CalDAV,” Tobschall added. “When you look at Google, they have a broad product lineup, but they’re not focused in any area…Google kind of covers certain areas, but the deeper you go with scheduling and delegation features, that’s basically where Google stops, that’s where we start.”

Despite the fact that Android and iOS devices comprise much of the mobile and tablet market share, the company has the potential to appeal to a pool of users who may value the service both personally and for use at work. It’s keeping its metrics private right now, so it will be interesting to see how both its team and individual plans fare over the next few months.

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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