Tom’s Planner, a web-based project management service, has acquired a competitor in providing Gantt charts to track projects: Y-Combinator-backed Gantto. The company plans to merge Gantto’s users and features into one platform under the existing brand.
Gantto launched its product in 2010, less than one year after Tom’s Planner, and allowed subscribers to create their own charts and presentations to show project progress and management. At the time of acquisition, Gantto had about one-third the amount of its purchaser’s 120,000 subscribers.
CEO and founder Tom Ummels tells me that while Tom’s Planner focuses on user-friendly interaction, it lacks the more complex tools that Gantto offers. “In that way we differ, and so we’re hoping now to combine the experience with all the feature-richness with the ease of use of Tom’s Planner.”
With his eye on two other industry competitors, Ummels declined to give financial details of the acquisition.
Tom’s Planner announced it was buying Gantto for its strong market position and active user base. But of course, those users aren’t guaranteed to stick around once Gantto disappears. Ummels tells me his plan to prevent attrition includes giving all existing users two more months before the service ends. Any time during those months, he says, they can “sign up for free accounts, export a schedule and import it in Tom’s Planner and just have a go at it.”
There are many companies in the project management service field, some of which include Basecamp and Microsoft Project, which has over 20 million users. The balance now will be in keeping Tom’s product easier to use while adding in more of Gantto’s features. To that end, Ummels says Gantto features will be introduced as plug-ins, rolling them out as they are developed. With three account options ranging from $0-19 a month, all plug-ins will be available for the most advanced subscription, with some included in cheaper plans.