Pie, the latest contender in the enterprise collaboration space, competes with services like Slack, which recently raised an impressive $42.75 million, as well as a host of other companies such as Convo, Hipchat, Hall, and CoTap. So how does Pie plan standout from all the collaboration platforms out there?
Co-founder Pieter Walraven says Pie “takes the noise out of work chat” by allowing users to make mini-chatrooms for every item–including links, files, questions, and images–they want to discuss.
“We differentiate through a less noisy and more on-topic chat experience as well as by a more simple and playful design. Commonly used broad-topic chat rooms can often veer off-topic and are noisy,” he explains.
“Pie helps you extract signal from noise by offering an experience where every conversation is centered around a single, specific item so you can focus on what matters.”
Other benefits of Pie’s design include the ability to quickly skip irrelevant conversations without scrolling past a bunch of different threads and being able to contribute to an older conversation without bumping it to the top of a newsfeed.
Based in Singapore, Pie has raised a seed round of $800,000 from investors including Digital Garage, Publicis Groupe, Siemer Ventures, Peng Tsin Ong, Koh Boon Hwee, Diederik Zwager, Chris Evdemon, Pieter Kemps, Porter Erisman, Steve Elrick, David Webster, and Jacques Kemp.
Pie (Walraven says the name was picked because it “has a friendly and approachable ring to it and pies are meant to be shared”) recently exited private beta testing with teams from companies including Spotify, Nestlé, Edelman, and IDEO.
During its private beta, Pie developed its web and Mac app versions, with features including a Chrome extension; external chat that allow users to message people outside of their companies; and customizable daily email digests of chats. Pie is planning to integrate with services like Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, and Pocket.
Walraven says the web version of Pie is fully responsive and can work with any device on Chrome and Safari. Of course, having a mobile app would be much better, and the startup is already on it. Pie’s native iOS app is currently in review in the App Store and it is also working on iOS 8 Share Extensions to make it easier to start chats around photos, links, and other files on mobile.
The current version of Pie is free and will remain free. To monetize, the company plans to launch freemium services like admin control and user management; external chat; usage statistics; and custom integrations. The paid version of Pie will range from between $6 to $12 per user per month depending on the number of users and level of support and integration needed.
In a statement, investor Ong, the founder and managing director of Monk’s Hill Ventures, said “Pie is one of the few companies that has solved some of the basic problems with enterprise software. They offer a simple consumerized way to get on and get a group together to share information. There are not many other interesting solutions that offer a solid way to get going like Pie does.”