Enterprise collaboration tool Huddle debuted a new version of its platform today, one that focuses on simplifying workflow by further combining content management and social collaboration. The London- and San Francisco-based company, which raised $24 million in Series C funding in May 2012 and has raised over $40 million to date, is also on track for 800 percent enterprise sales growth year over year.
Currently Huddle is used by over 100,000 businesses around the world, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500, and 80 percent of UK central government. Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell said in an interview that the new Huddle is what Microsoft wanted to accomplish with its recent Yammer acquisition: combining enterprise social features with traditional file storage and workflow tools. ”That is absolutely about SharePoint, which is all about storage, trying to become more collaborative, by adding these social tools by Yammer. That’s exactly what Huddle has been championing for ages,” he said. “It’s obviously what SharePoint and Yammer will get to, but it’s going to take 18 months to integrate them.”
Mitchell said today’s redesign is all about making a user’s files the centre of their experience. Huddle’s new version gives users a quick view of files and conversations on a single page, allowing them to preview files and search the full text without downloading, and lets users comment, manage tasks and approvals, and edit metadata. Huddle’s existing functionality remains the same, including version control and edit history, and new features added, including the ability to add colleagues to a comment with an @ reply, and HD file rendering so users can view files in their entirety without having to download them.
Today’s new version comes three months after the company opened a New York City sales office, and after 2012 product additions including the Huddle Sync recommendation technology, and redesigned native apps for iPhone and iPad. The company sees its biggest competitor as Microsoft SharePoint, though Huddle is integrated with SharePoint, and Mitchell said that customers who initially use both products end up choosing one or the other.
The company’s plans for the rest of 2012 include scaling to keep up with growth, and launching new social collaboration and content management features. The company, which already has third-party integrations with LinkedIn and Microsoft Office, will also be announcing more partner integrations. Mitchell said they’ll also be ramping up their U.S. presence, and though he said they want to build their presence outside of the U.S. and Europe (30 percent of sales come from outside those two areas), it likely won’t be this year.
Mitchell said that ultimately, Huddle is about replicating the social, content-driven experience of a platform like Facebook within the enterprise. “Enterprise has woken up to the fact that cloud platforms for sharing, collaboration and content are absolutely the way to go, whether that’s mobile collaboration, collaboration across the firewall, that’s a no-brainer,” he said. “In the last year or so people have said we don’t just want to store content, we want to bring the great social tools together with the great content people are creating.” Huddle already has a solid base of clients, so the key to its future growth will be convincing enterprise users that it doesn’t need to be used in conjunction with its competitors, but rather can act as a stand-alone solution.