It’s So Easy, a Fourth Grader Can Do It: Wiggio 2.0 Collaboration Software Aims to Take on SharePoint, Basecamp, Dropbox, & More
Boston entrepreneur Dana Lampert says he tests every new feature for his collaboration software, Wiggio, in a fourth-grade classroom.
“If they can’t do it, we don’t put it out,” he says. “We’re kind of the anti-SharePoint [Microsoft], the anti-Wave [Google]. We don’t want to just add bells and whistles. We really focus on user experience.”
Boston-based Wiggio offers group scheduling, polling, file uploading, and mass messaging (voice or SMS). Groups can use it to assign items on to-do lists, set up audio or video conferences, and edit documents. My colleague Wade profiled Wiggio in 2008, back when the startup was working out of the basement of its angel investor Bob Doyle’s home, and when it was largely targeting the college audience as users of its collaboration software. As Wiggio has evolved with new features and collaboration functions, it’s also attracted an audience far beyond academia, in the non-profit, small business, and political sectors.
Wiggio now has more than 700,000 users, and has been growing by 1,000 per day, says Lampert, the company’s CEO. Most of that has been organic, with college students taking the software to their internships, and employees using it to collaborate on volunteer activities they do in their spare time, Lampert says. Groups such as college fraternities and sororities and soccer teams were initially big users.
“We never billed Wiggio to be just for the education space,” he says. “It’s taken on a life of its own.” In the process, it also has captured the attention of users away from other software products that do individual tasks like to-do lists (Basecamp), file-sharing (Dropbox), video conferencing, Web conferencing (GoToMeeting), and document collaboration (Google Docs).
Wiggio launched its 2.0 version last month, after about seven months of development. It’s designed to provide a more seamless experience for people who need to collaborate around a one-time, ad-hoc event (like a media announcement or camping trip among friends), and to include those who don’t want to go to the Wiggio interface or create an account in order to collaborate. Wiggio communication in a group goes to a user’s e-mail account, from which they can reply to the threads, post calendar items, and upload files directly.
“We’re trying to make it so that people who want to live within Wiggio will see all the information,” Lampert says. “For people who don’t know what Wiggio is, they don’t even have to go to it. You can manage and communicate with groups in Wiggio just by living all through your Gmail inbox.”
Wiggio’s functions are also available via its mobile app for iPhone, which debuted in March as well. The Wiggio interface gathers updates across the different groups users are in, and funnels them into a Facebook-style newsfeed. Users can filter the newsfeed from the Wiggio app or website to only view certain items (like calendar events or uploaded files), or based on different groups they’re in.
The political campaign of Jerry Brown, who won the 2010 California’s governor race, used Wiggio to manage its 3,000-plus volunteers. And as the 2012 races approach, we can expect to see more of that, says Lampert. “We’re getting inbound inquiries from other political campaigns,” he says. “We find that to be a pretty heavy use case.”
For right now, Wiggio is free to use. “We’ve held off [on charging] for certain reasons,” Lampert says. “We’ve seen explosive growth and we didn’t want to limit that by putting a pricing structure on it.” Down the line, the company could offer premium features for businesses and non-profits using the site, Lampert says. The startup, which now works out of the MassChallenge space in Boston, raised $2.1 million last year, led by New Atlantic Ventures and the angel investors from its $450,000 seed financing.