Biz Collaboration Startup Siasto Hits Profitability, Teams With Box For 25GB Free Storage

If we’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. Many startups and businesses have sought the Holy Grail of collaboration/task management software — in other words, offering a product that’s flexible, intuitive, reliable and affordable enough to gobble market share like Cookie Monster — and many have fallen short. There’s plenty of opportunity left for a startup make that “perfect collaboration suite” for startups and SMEs. Companies like Asana, Basecamp, Zoho and Huddle all have a lot of money behind them and are making progress with different parts, but there isn’t a clear frontrunner.

Siasto may not have the answer either, but we’ve been following the YC grad’s progress because it’s shown potential. Like others, its features are familiar: Create projects, add tasks, manage workflow, upload docs, invite other users, etc. However, what’s notable, beyond its interface, is how it’s been tying in with Google — and now with Box. And with growing demand among larger teams, Siasto is now profitable.

In terms of Google integration, bringing lessons learned from creating inbox organizer Taskforce, the Siasto founders developed a cool Gmail contextual gadget, which enables users to convert emails into tasks, events or documents with one click. It also offers two-way sync with Google Calendar and lets users view Google Docs without leaving the app, or upload docs from Dropbox or Google Drive with their own special interface (or let you create and edit your own, plus a WYSIWYG editor).

For many businesses, Google Apps are becoming the chosen work-related cloudware. So another perhaps minor but cool detail is that, since most just use Google Docs as their main word processor, Siasto lets you upload a Google Doc/spreadsheet and edit it using Google’s editor, without having to re-sync, while offering a text editor for those without Goog Docs. Siasto doesn’t offer priority in a nice, simple manner like Astrid, but users can also create subtasks or add tags to tasks as a result.

Some purists might put Siasto in the category of “group task manager” rather than “project manager,” as Siasto doesn’t offer time or bug tracking, resource management, etc. — features offered by specific point solutions or more enterprise-y, robust biz software. Whatever its taxonomy, it does straddle the line somewhat between the two, leaning more to the former. A similar strategy is being employed by the killer designers at MetaLab, which offers two products with its task management tool, Flow, and its small business management suite and productivity app, Ballpark.

The Siasto founders are currently focused on keeping the product simple along with building out a mobile experience, rather then venturing too deep into the heavier end of tasks and business management. When and if they do go there, it will likely be through integration rather than building their own, maybe through integrating with Harvest for time-tracking, etc.

However, while Siasto has thousands of teams and small businesses signed up to use its product, co-founder Niccolo Pantucci tells us that it’s starting to see larger teams and companies (over 40 people) come on board because of the product’s ability to handle more general workflows. Demand, which, by the way, has already lifted the startup into profitability, he says. With growing interest from larger operations, Siasto will be changing its business/pricing model to support larger teams, moving to a per-user payment model. (Up to this point, Siasto has offered Standard, Professional and Business accounts at $29, $49, $99/month, respectively.)

Pantucci says it will likely be the first five users are free, with each additional user costing $8 thereafter. The new pricing is expected to launch in October, and anyone who signs up and pays beforehand will be locked in for a year to the old pricing structure. Pantucci says that he hopes the new per-user pricing will be more equitable to both smaller and larger teams, as small teams shouldn’t have to pay the same as their big, corporate bretheren.

And while Siasto already has Dropbox and Google Drive integration, to help handle the requests of bigger teams, today Box is officially joining in on the party with its own Siasto integration. As part of this, going forward, Siasto will be offering 25GB of free Box storage for all new sign-ups.

When we asked Box CEO Aaron Levie why the company chose to work with Siasto, he said that the team had found its UI to be a breeze and liked how collaborators and projects are laid out front and center on the homepage as tiles, so that, once users drill down into each project, items like tasks, documents and events are a click away.

And, because Box is on a mission to give companies easy access to their critical business information anytime, anywhere, whether it be mobile devices or other online applications, tying Box into Siasto is another way to insure that users’ docs are shareable and secure.

For more, find Siasto at home here.