Yammer definitely started something. The enterprise Twitter service has more competition today from Wizehive, a Web-based group messaging and task management service for businesses. WizeHive just launched in beta. We have 500 invites (just enter “TC2009” when you sign up).
WizeHive is a bootstrap startup funded with $100,000 from the founders Mike Carson and Michael Levinson. Levinson is also the founder of DreamIt Ventures, a YCombinator-like startup incubator in Philadelphia. DreamIt itself did not invest, but Levinson created WizeHive out of the frustrations of managing all the different DreamIt projects and applicants. Says Levinson:
I needed something to organize all my thoughts and activities for DreamIt. Stuff was flying all over the place. I looked at Basecamp and Central Desktop, I didn’t think they were intuitive enough, the way the interfaces were designed, for my partners (who are business partners, not techies).
Although it is similar in many respects to Yammer, Present.ly (our review), Basecamp, Central Desktop, and even in some ways to Producteev (our review), WizeHive is a worthy competitor and adds a few twists of its own.
Like Yammer and the rest, WizeHive lets you set up workgroups and displays messages to everyone in a Twitter-like stream. But conversations are threaded. You can click to see an entire thread (the most recent message also appears at the top of the stream). WizeHive also works great on the iPhone and other mobile browsers (Blackberry and Android optimizations are coming soon), and you can get it as a desktop Adobe Air client or receive alerts in your email. (If you CC notes@wizehive and put the workspace in brackets in the subject line of an email, WizeHive will ingest and categorize the contents of the email, including attachments). Soon, you will be able to get WizeHive updates in your Twitter feed as well.
WizeHive also adds task-management features like Basecamp, Huddle, and Producteev. You can create a task, set a due date, and assign it to yourself or to someone else. Each task can be marked as “open,” “completed,” or “in progress.” You can also upload files, and everyone can view them in-browser. Images and files can be attached to specific messages.
The most distinctive feature of WizeHive, though, is that it allows you to create a small database for each workspace, complete with customizable data fields. This is great for managing contacts or organizing events. WizeHive plans to add additional apps for which it will charge subscription fees. The first two due out in January will be a simple Opprtunity Tracking app for CRM purposes and one for TimeSheets. WizeHive already has an API and hopes others developers will build their own add-ons.
WizeHive is free for up to three people and up to 50MB of storage, and then fees start at $8 a month for a small group, with additional fees for extra storage. Add-on apps built on top of the API will cost less than $10 a month, and is where Levinson thinks he can make the most money.