Working remotely has been heralded as “the future of work” and a slew of startups have popped up to tackle the challenges that come with not being able to turn and talk to your colleague.
Enter Tandem, the hot new startup coming out of Y Combinator’s summer batch. The company is raising $7.5 million in seed funding at a valuation of more than $30 million, according to a recent TechCrunch report. Andreessen Horowitz is said to be leading the round. Tandem declined to comment.
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Crunchbase News spent some time learning how Tandem worked in the wild. In short, with one click, users can call a colleague through the app. A second click lets you share your screen with another person on the app, and Tandem also has video calling and document collaboration options. Users can see if a colleague is typing in a Google Doc and click into it to open up the document and work together, for example.
If you don’t want your colleagues seeing what you’re working on or just need some time unbothered, you can turn on “focus mode,” which will put a signal by your name to indicate that you’re working.
The app also has “rooms” where employees can go into to signal what they’re up to, like “Water Cooler” and “Daily Standup.” Tandem, which was founded earlier this year, counts Autodesk and Scott’s Cheap Flights among its customers.
There are a lot of apps to improve workplace communications available on the market now—Slack ($WORK) and Zoom ($ZM) among the most popular for instant message and video. Tandem integrates with more than 40 of them, including Asana and Github.
But while Tandem works with many late-stage startups and public companies, it also has the potential to compete with them, as it brings all the features other companies are known to provide to one place.
One notable possible competitor is Dropbox, which went public last year.
In June, the popular file-sharing company announced “the new Dropbox,” a desktop workplace collaboration platform that would integrate communication, video chat, and document sharing. Sounds pretty similar to what Tandem would do.
Tandem would therefore find itself up against a former darling of the startup world, even if Dropbox’s share price hasn’t advanced much as a public company.
A 2018 study from Upwork reported that 63 percent of companies have remote workers (hi, Crunchbase News team), and it’s no secret that technology to keep remote employees connected is critical for productivity.
Dropbox noted in its S-1 that “the market for content collaboration platforms is competitive and rapidly changing.”
It’s common for startups to challenge incumbents. To see Tandem run up against the direction that Dropbox wants to take is, therefore, not surprising. But since both companies sport Y Combinator on their cap table, any future conflict would be a family affair.
Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias