Enterprise social networking service Hall has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding, bringing the AngelPad startup’s funds to about $6.4 million. The series was led by Felicis Ventures, Signia Venture Parters and angel investor Eric Hahn, and joined by existing investor PivotNorth Capital.
Founded in 2010, Hall provides a platform for businesses to communicate from any online device. It also aims to deliver real-time communication across different companies, so users can contact co-workers, employers, clients and friends all in one place.
CEO Brett Hellman says new funding will help expand the Hall team, which currently consists of six people. Hellman tells me Hall is working on a new version for mobile apps, and more people are needed to keep up with the company’s growth. The company launched apps for iOS and Android in February, and since then has grown to serve more than 20,000 businesses and 100,000 users. While Hall is still in beta testing, some notable users include Capital One, Razorfish, Sapient and Oracle.
Hall’s freemium model includes a basic version for companies, and adding administration control, data exporting and other managing features costs $5 a month per user for a Business Plan. The Enterprise Plan adds single sign-on and active directory groups for $15 a month per user.
“We’re iMessages for businesses,” Hellman tells me. “Short-form messaging? No one’s brought that to businesses yet. So that’s what we’re 100 percent focused on doing.”
Between established competitors such as Yammer, Jive and Chatter, as well as startups like Batterii and NationalField, there are a lot of companies trying to provide the best business network. Glancing at the competition, the key to success is centered around user engagement. Signia Venture Partners investor Zaw Thet says he believes this is where Hall will excel. After switching from Yammer to Hall, Thet tells me his emails decreased by at least 50 percent, moving most communication to short, quick messages on Hall. TechCrunch previously reported that Hall’s users are engaged in the service for at least three hours a day.
Another useful feature that might put Hall ahead of some competitors is the ability to communicate with people outside the company. While many services are focused on streamlining collaboration within a business, Hall wants to make it easy for outside participants to come in or out of company messaging.