Producteev Launches Windows App to One-Up Competition in Task Management
New York’s Producteev released on Tuesday the first Windows desktop version of its task management software in an effort to become more ubiquitous than its rivals. Producteev’s software lets users who work collaboratively organize, update, and see who is responsible for getting specific jobs done. The platform can be accessed via mobile apps, the Web, a native Mac desktop app, and now Windows. Producteev has raised close to $2 million since its founding in 2008 from investors that include angels and Palm Ventures.
Comparable to project collaboration software Basecamp, Producteev lets users communicate with each other about their shared tasks. The software gathers updates on tasks from e-mails, instant messages, and shared calendars. However, CEO and co-founder Ilan Abehassera says Producteev aims to be more streamlined than Basecamp by focusing on specific tasks rather than managing overall projects.
The Producteev platform is free for up to two people to use per organization. Producteev charges licensing fees for larger groups to use its software, which also connects with services such as Google Calendar, Google Apps, and Google Tasks. “We’re trying to consumerize productivity apps,” Abehassera says.
With the new Windows desktop app, he says, Producteev hopes to greatly increase adoption of its software. “Very few competitors have developed something for the Windows platform,” Abehassera says, “which is way bigger than the Mac platform.” He points to file hosting services Evernote and Dropbox as models he tries to emulate. “We’re trying to build the same kind of platform for tasks,” he says.
Also on Tuesday, Producteev introduced an Android version of its app. An iPhone app, which was already available, was updated as well. And a new feature is available across the various versions of Producteev: integration with San Francisco-based TaskRabbit, which hosts a marketplace for users to find people to complete tasks for them such as walking dogs or picking up purchases at stores. Users can send their tasks to the TaskRabbit network to hire someone to get jobs done.
“We let you outsource any task you have from Producteev to TaskRabbit,” Abehassera says. “You set the price you’re willing to pay, you put in? a description, and then you choose the city.”
Producteev has seven employees, and Abehassera says he plans to hire more engineers as the platform evolves. “It’s a product oriented company right now. We really don’t focus on marketing,” he says.
Abehassera says Producteev’s platform is used by collaborative groups at marketing, public relations, and advertising agencies in particular. The company has about 1,000 paying business customers including the tablet marketing team at Logitech, the design team at The Financial Times, as well as work teams at universities and blogs.
Abehassera, a native of France, moved to New York in 2004 and worked in business development for startups in such segments as mobile apps and social networking before co-founding Producteev in 2008 with his brother-in-law Aric Lasry. Abehassera says during his time with other startups, project management software such as Basecamp was used in-house but not effectively. “Nobody was really sticking to those apps,” he says.
For example, he says, Basecamp can offer more functions than some users know what to do with. “It’s a more sophisticated level of productivity,” he says. “Not everyone is able to use it for project management. It’s more complicated to use.”
That frustration helped inspire the development of Producteev. Abehassera believes task management software also has untapped uses outside of the workplace. “It didn’t make sense that the task management space wasn’t bigger,” he says.
Producteev got off to a bumpy start in spite of his ambition. Abehassera says the original version of his platform tried to tackle too many functions at once. “We made lots of mistakes,” he says. “We lost a year and a half in the product development phase because we started with something very complicated.” Early versions of the platform included project management, site sharing, status updates, and everything else they could think to include, he says. “We learned we had to start with something very simple and build from there.”
The current version of Producteev is aimed at simplicity and accessibility, he says. “Task management apps are more useful if they are connected to everything you are using every day,” Abehassera says.