CollectiveX, a bootstrapped startup located in Maryland, will roll out version 2 of it's year old social network collaboration platform today. Full disclosure: the company is a TechCrunch50 Exhibitor (which is a sponsor).
We first wrote about CollectiveX, founded by serial entrepreneur Clarence Wooten, back in 2005 when it first went into private beta. In May 2006 the service launched, and a year ago (at TechCrunch40) they launched Groupsites, which, among other things, let users create separate profiles for personal and business interactions.
In a nutshell, think of CollectiveX as a sort of LinkedIn-type professional social network, with collaboration tools for groups (companies, boards of directors, whatever). Calendaring, blogging, file sharing, photos, etc. Robert Scoble calls them “social websites.”
Groups create shared websites for members. In this new version pages are customizable and modularized (think Netvibes). users can also take any module on a page and embed it on a third party site, or pull any third party widgets or code into their CollectiveX site. There's a free option for groups, or they can buy things like a more white label experience (see top image above), extra storage, etc. for a monthly fee.
Here's why I like CollectiveX: It serves a need that a lot of small and medium sized organizations really have. A place to keep themselves organized online, share contact information (and contacts for introductions), and generally get their work done.
Once a user joins with a group, they can add any other group to their profile. That means the service can grow virally. If someone gets sucked into a charitable organization where they donate time or money, they may soon see the value in using it at work, or for their kid's soccer team. That sucks in other users over time.
The service is still relatively small with 18,000 groups. But 8% of those groups eventually start to buy premium features, says Wooten, and the company is near break even. CollectiveX isn't the sexiest startup we've covered, but it uses a lot of the really cool collaboration features we see on the more fluffy sites to really help groups get organized. See the overview video below showing the new features: