Enterprise communication is a hot topic in China market right now. Companies including Mingdao, Fxiaoke and WeChat are all rolling out solutions designed to help office communicate better. Teambition is a promising player also trying to edge into the growing field to completely replace business email for the inward facing company communications.
Teambition is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that provides products and services to foster team collaboration and project management, attempting to be a mix of Silicon Valley’s Slack, Trello and Dropbox. Available on the web, Android, and iOS, the service is designed for different industries including TMT, education, advertising, manufacturing and administration.
The company received Pre-A investment from Gobi Partners and was selected as Red Herring Top 100 Asia winner in 2013. Last year, the company was inducted by Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and has secured US$5 million of Series A funding led by IDG, followed by Vangoo Capital Partners.
The company is comparatively young. CEO Junyuan Qi is 24 years old and 53 members of the company are in their mid twenties. In TechNode’s interview with CEO Junyuan Qi, he shared the philosophy behind Teambition.
What is the motivation behind Teambiton?
In my third year at University, I developed a personal health recording system. There were 40 people at that time, and I spent time how I can manage people effectively. I realized then, that the problem was not about managing people and exchanging emails. It was about learning the process how people work together, which is also a way for companies to become successful. I needed the whole picture to bring the project forward.
While studying in Sweden, I learned how to use Microsoft project software made by Microsoft which is widely used by project managers. It took me one year to go through all the courses to learn how it works, but it still couldn’t help project to succeed. Many projects were delayed because the employees didn’t know about the whole plan.
What’s your philosophy behind the product?
Everybody should be involved in the project and be looped and informed. It reduces one jumping into the process and asking questions what is it about.
What’s your plan for the global market?
We currently offer Simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, and we plan to offer Traditional Chinese in the future. Now begin to have paying customers abroad, like Japan and Australia.
Starting with East Asia, our goal is first to expand to Europe, then the U.S. It’s because there are differences in marketing situation. There are already so many SaaS companies in Silicon Valley, like Dropbox for file sharing, Trello for managing tasks and Slideshare to share presentation files. Since China doesn’t have those products, we decided poise ourselves as a one-stop-shop for providing all of them. By combining different solutions, the working process gets more efficient by forming task and sharing files in one place.
As you are one of the post 90s entrepreneur, how do you see the trends of young people?
There has been a dramatic change among young people to find self fulfillment in the workplace and don’t care about other things. Many young founders have been abroad and they are talent over the title. They tend to join a startup rather than working for a big company. Young founders are affected by Silcon Valley’s atmosphere and they want to make working culture just like Silicon Valley’s.
How do you differentiate from other products?
Our team interviewed and observe client company from every industry for two months. In this one on one collaboration, we could get better on many different industries like education, advertising, human resources and much more. The big change was that they now don’t need to use email. Advertising agencies used to receive 50 emails every day. Now they tell me they are not even creating new email address for new member.
While our Yammer-like competitor has 200 people in sales team, they make one license sales a month. We make up to ten license sales a month. A lot of users have been recommending our products to their friends. We boast 58% direct access to our website, thanks to word-of-mouth.
With a lot of competitors in the market, how could Teambition gain a lot of interest?
Timing was key to our company. China is growing fast along with a lot of business blooming up over all the regions across China. Yet the business owners don’t know how to manage the company and grow fast. They were eager to find the way to run the company better, so they were open to suggestions around them. My first approach was to my University professors and neighbored startup that need to improve productivity.
What are the challenges for Teambition?
Challenges are first, putting everything in the highest bar. Secondly, and personally, learn things by myself, namely, learn to code, design, and conduct sales and marketing. I need to take care of the team as well as to prove them that I make the right decision. Third is market problem that old companies giving idea that they don’t need a change in the company. The key is young people. What’s really important is how to make them happy, because they will make the future of the company.
Image Credit: Teambition