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Video Conferencing Company Lifesize Buys Whiteboarding Startup Kaptivo

Enterprise communications company Lifesize has purchased whiteboard technology startup Kaptivo, the companies announced Thursday.

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Lifesize, which makes video conferencing software and meeting room devices, and technology for cloud contact centers, will bring Kaptivo’s 20 or so employees into the company. Kaptivo CEO David Hsieh will become Lifesize’s general manager of advanced collaboration. 

Kaptivo, which raised a $6 million Series A in 2018, turns whiteboards into digital collaboration tools through its whiteboard camera system. It’s a tool used by businesses like Deloitte and Atlassian, and educational institutions including the University of Arizona and Stanford University for brainstorming, teaching and digital collaboration.

“This notion of virtual whiteboards and advanced collaboration became more important, particularly as people are working from home,” Lifesize CEO Craig Malloy said of the company’s decision to buy Kaptivo.

“Video communication is great, I can’t imagine doing work from home with just audio calls … but I think video communication and screen sharing, simple screen sharing, has been lacking,” he said.

Malloy first came across Kaptivo a few years ago through an online ad, and was fascinated by the idea of digitizing a regular whiteboard. He ended up buying one and installing it in Lifesize’s office, telling the company’s engineers that they should integrate it with Lifesize’s product.

There’s been an increase in demand for Kaptivo’s products since the COVID-19 pandemic sent students and employees home to learn and work, according to Hsieh. As people started to work from home, they realized what tools they needed to be productive. And as anyone who’s been in a conference room for a brainstorming session will know, coming up with new ideas often involves grabbing a marker and drawing on a whiteboard.

“When you’re working from home (collaborating to brainstorm) becomes much more difficult,” Hsieh said. “So we’ve seen an increasing demand as people see their productivity disrupted because of a lack of tools.”

Joining Lifesize was a “natural fit,” Hsieh said, as Kaptivo works better as part of a broader solution. The first step together is rolling out a new digital whiteboard product, co-built by the companies, that will be integrated into Lifesize.

Lifesize, which declined to disclose the purchase price of Kaptivo, plans on acquiring more companies to build out a suite of unified communications, Malloy said. 

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly characterized Lifesize’s connection to cloud contact centers. The article above has been amended to reflect that Lifesize doesn’t operate cloud contact centers but rather provides technology that helps other companies operate contact centers.

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