Remote Work (Tools)

The tools that power remote work are define the next generation of enterprise software.

Overview

Not long ago, remote work was a disruptive new phenomenon of the modern working world; today, it’s a standard component of nearly every industry. Instead of a corner office or a cubicle, the new office space is virtually anywhere in the world with access to a laptop and an internet connection. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the already trending remote work movement has accelerated sharply, subsequently altering the conversation around productivity best practices, workplace culture, and business models.

Behind all of this is the robust and growing industry of online tools, technology, and infrastructure powering the evolution of remote workforces across sectors.

What's driving this industry?

Industry Updates

Frontify raises USD 50 million in Series C funding
Sep 27
Zoom’s USD 14.7 billion acquisition of Five9 faces US regulatory scrutiny
Sep 21
Business Canvas raises USD 2.5 million in seed funding
Sep 21
View all updates
Market Sizing

Global market size for productivity and collaboration tools to reach USD 9.0-22.7 billion by 2025

Conservative case

USD 9.0 Bn

20% penetration
Base case

USD 15.9 Bn

30% penetration
Expansion case

USD 22.7 Bn

40% penetration
USD billion510152025202020212022202320242025
View details

COVID-19 IMPACT

Collaboration tools benefitted from the transition to remote work:

  • Zoom: Daily meeting participants (free and paid) grew to 300 million in April 2020, from just 10 million in December 2019. Q3 FY2021 revenue grew by 367% year-over-year (YoY) to USD 777 million.

  • Microsoft Teams: Daily active users rose to 115 million in October 2020, up from 20 million in November 2019.

  • Slack : Slack reported Q3 FY2021 revenue growth of 39% YoY to reach USD 234 million, acquiring 12,000 new paid customers, reflecting a 35% YoY growth.

  • Asana: Revenue spiked 55% YoY to USD 59 million supported by a 22% YoY increase in paying customers to 89,000. Paying customers grew by 7,000 in Q3, up around 9% QoQ, the highest jump over the previous four quarters.

Collaboration tools attracted large funding rounds during the second half of 2020:

  • Mural : raised USD 118 million in a Series B round in August 2020.

  • ClickUp: raised USD 100 million in a Series B funding in December 2020.

  • Dialpad:  raised USD 100 million in Series E funding in October 2020.

  • mmhmm: raised USD 31 million in October 2020.

  • Livestorm: raised USD 30 million in Series B funding in November 2020.

Growing demand for remote working spurred:

  • Salesforce announced its USD 27.7 billion acquisition of Slack in December 2020.

  • Cisco announced the acquisition of Slido (an audience interaction tool for online meetings) and Babblelabs (AI-based audio communication software), in December 2020 and August 2020, respectively.

  • Dialpad announced its acquisition of video conferencing software and hardware provider HighFive in August 2020.

Market Mapping

The majority of disruptors in the online productivity and collaboration tool space are focused on project management. In contrast, the incumbent-heavy video conferencing space is home to large disruptors like Zoom as well as complimentary platforms such as Mmhmm and Grain. Virtual office tools, which provide a mix of services combining tools from each segment, have seen the development of VR-based spaces equipped with spatial audio technology to emulate the in-office experience. These tools have garnered more interest recently which inlcudes the likes of Teamflow, Gather, and Branch.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre seed
Messaging
?
Video conferencing
?
Project management
?
Collaborative design
?
Virtual office
?
Communications
Communications
Communications
Communications
Communications
Microsoft
Google
Salesforce
StrikeForce Technologies
Superhuman
Element
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Mattermost
Flock
SEDNA
Wire
Siilo
Threads
Rocket.Chat
Quill
Compose
Microsoft
Facebook
Google
Amazon
Enghouse Systems
Cisco Systems
Verizon Communications
Paylocity
Ooma
StrikeForce Technologies
Telegram
Hopin
Fuze
Dialpad
Zoom
Lifesize
Livestorm
Howspace
Ringover
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Verbit
mmhmm
Otter.ai
SignalWire
StarLeaf
Interactio
KUDO
Krisp
Around
Whereby
Pexip
Teleport.video
Rewatch
Fireflies.ai
Common Ground
Vowel
Remotion
Huddl
Hugo
Headroom
Macro
Grain
Tauria
Butter
Acapela
Here
Filo.co
Mibo
Toucan
Plectica
Sonero
Sidekick
Scribe
MeetinVR
Remo.co
Spinach
Sneek
Meetter
Atlassian
Vimeo
Paylocity
Salesforce
Citrix
Lucid
Asana
monday.com
Coda
MURAL
M-Files
Smartsheet
ClickUp
Teamwork
Klaxoon
Meister
Kdan Mobile
ZenHub
Basecamp
Intermedia Cloud Communications
5th Kind
Loom
Templafy
Miro
Clubhouse Software
Forecast
Hive
OpenReel
LinearB
Memory
Air
Linear
iObeya
Scratchpad
Pinpoint
Slite
Spike
Unito
Parabol
Yac
Evercast
Ryver
Airfocus
Any.do
Fleep
Droplr
Doist
Hoylu
Collabio Spaces
Almanac
Swit
CloudApp
Roam Research
Fiberplane
Range
Ziflow
Craft Docs
Acumen.io
Spot
Voodle
Workona
Hex Technologies
Taskade
CoScreen
Slapdash
Skiff
Jam
Dragonboat
Claap
Friday
Business Canvas
Sidekick
SuperNormal
Murmur
Ditto
Ayoa
Plectica
GitDuck
RendezView
Bubbles
Rock
PingPong
JXL
Standups
Input
Screen
Rollcall
Clariti
Mem
Weet
RemoteWorkly
Bit.ai
Birabo
P2
Snack Break
ThreadIt
Grapevine
Sunsama
Supernotes
Claritask
Cycle
Zenkit
Nifty
Beseda
Zepel.io
Microsoft
Adobe
InVisionApp
Figma
Kdan Mobile
Pitch
Abstract
Descript
Framer
Linearity
Frontify
Replit
Sketch
Beautiful.AI
Projector App
VECTARY
Hedge
Zeplin
Slidebean
CodeSandbox
Gravity Sketch
Vev
CodeStream
Prezent.ai
Reduct
AirDeck
Filestage
Matik
Raycast
Ludus
SnackThis
Tella
Facebook
Sine Wave Entertainment
Notion
Spatial
Sococo
Teamflow
Gather
Qatalog
Absurd Joy
nuffsaid
Tandem Chat
Topia
Nooks
Loop Team
Teemyco
Kumospace
RemoteHQ
Arthur
Spot
Branch
Pragli
Vizy
Orbital
SpatialChat
Fibery

The Disruptors

Project management players garner the highest amount of funding

Project management tools account for the majority of startups in this space and also account for the largest share of funding with USD 3.3 billion as of August 2021. While there are a significant number of large companies in the early and growth stages, a majority of the startups are in the seed stage. This can be attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic led remote work movement that led to an influx of new workplace tools.

Among private companies, virtual events platform Hopin which acquired video technology company Jamm leads with over USD 1 billion in funding, followed by visual collaboration platform Lucid and collaborative design platform InVision. As of August 2021, players have raised cumulative funding above USD 7.8 billion.

Messaging

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Superhuman
108
Mattermost
70
Element
48
Flock
45
SEDNA
44
Wire
35
Siilo
16
Quill
15
Threads
11
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Rocket.Chat
Compose

Video conferencing

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Zoom
Public - Market cap USD 80.9 bn
Hopin
1021
Fuze
494
Verbit
319
Dialpad
230
mmhmm
140
Lifesize
98
Otter.ai
63
SignalWire
42
StarLeaf
40
Livestorm
39
Interactio
31
KUDO
27
Common Ground
19
Howspace
18
Krisp
18
Around
15
Remotion
13
Ringover
12
Whereby
12
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Rewatch
Fireflies.ai
Vowel
Huddl
Hugo
Headroom
Macro
Grain
Tauria
Butter
Acapela
Here
Spinach
Filo.co
Mibo
Toucan
Plectica
Sonero
Sidekick
Scribe
Pexip
Sneek
Meetter
MeetinVR
Remo.co
Teleport.video

Project management

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Asana
Public - Market cap USD 22.1 bn
monday.com
Public - Market cap USD 16.0 bn
Smartsheet
Public - Market cap USD 9.7 bn
Lucid
670
Coda
240
Loom
204
MURAL
192
M-Files
159
ClickUp
138
Templafy
121
Miro
76
Teamwork
70
Klaxoon
56
Meister
52
Clubhouse Software
39
Hive
26
OpenReel
24
Kdan Mobile
22
LinearB
21
Memory
20
Air
20
Linear
17
iObeya
17
Scratchpad
17
Pinpoint
17
Slite
15
Spike
15
Unito
13
Parabol
13
Yac
11
Roam Research
9
Airfocus
7
ZenHub
5
Basecamp
0
Intermedia Cloud Communications
Unknown
5th Kind
Unknown
Hoylu
Unknown
Collabio Spaces
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Almanac
Forecast
Swit
Evercast
CloudApp
Fiberplane
Range
Ziflow
Craft Docs
Ryver
Acumen.io
Spot
Voodle
Any.do
Workona
Hex Technologies
Taskade
CoScreen
Slapdash
Skiff
Jam
Dragonboat
Claap
Friday
Business Canvas
Sidekick
SuperNormal
Murmur
Fleep
Ditto
Droplr
Ayoa
Plectica
Sunsama
Supernotes
GitDuck
RendezView
Doist
Bubbles
Rock
PingPong
JXL
Standups
Input
Screen
Claritask
Rollcall
Clariti
Mem
Cycle
Weet
RemoteWorkly
Bit.ai
Birabo
P2
Snack Break
ThreadIt
Grapevine
Zenkit
Nifty
Beseda
Zepel.io

Collaborative design

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
InVisionApp
356
Figma
333
Pitch
138
Abstract
54
Descript
50
Framer
33
Linearity
32
Frontify
31
Replit
25
Kdan Mobile
22
Sketch
20
Beautiful.AI
16
CodeSandbox
15
Projector App
13
VECTARY
10
Hedge
3
Slidebean
1
Watchlist
?
Gravity Sketch
Vev
CodeStream
Prezent.ai
Reduct
AirDeck
Filestage
Matik
Raycast
Zeplin
Ludus
SnackThis
Tella

Virtual office

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Notion
68
Spatial
22
Qatalog
19
Sococo
14
Teamflow
4
Watchlist
?
Gather
Absurd Joy
nuffsaid
Tandem Chat
Topia
Nooks
Loop Team
Teemyco
Fibery
Kumospace
RemoteHQ
Arthur
Spot
Branch
Pragli
Vizy
Orbital
SpatialChat

Superhuman

Superhuman is an AI-based email platform currently available to Gmail and iOS users. It offers a variety of features to reinvent the inbox, including AI-based tools to highlight the most important emails, follow-up reminders, and scheduled messages for a monthly subscription fee of USD 30. Superhuman reportedly reached 50,000 users in 2020 and had a waitlist of more than 450,000 as of August 2021.

Superhuman raised USD 75 million in a Series C funding round led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) in August 2021. The round valued the company at USD 825 million and included the participation of Tiger Global Management and individual investors Drew Houston (CEO of Dropbox) and Jason Citron (CEO of Discord). 

As part of the investment, Ajay Vashee (General Partner, IVP) is expected to join Superhuman’s board of directors. The fresh capital is expected to be funneled toward product development and launching the software to Outlook and Android users. It also plans to ramp up hiring across the team to reach a headcount of more than 200 by the end of 2022 (from 85 as of August 2021). Furthermore, integration with third-party tools such as Grammarly, Hubspot, and Salesforce is in the roadmap.

Segment:
Messaging
Total funding:
USD 108.0 million
Disruptor Funding History

Messaging:

Superhuman
Mattermost
Element
Flock
SEDNA
Wire
Siilo
Quill
Threads
Rocket.Chat

Video conferencing:

Zoom
Hopin
Fuze
Verbit
Dialpad
mmhmm
Lifesize
Otter.ai
SignalWire
StarLeaf
Livestorm
Interactio
KUDO
Common Ground
Howspace
Krisp
Around
Remotion
Ringover
Whereby
Rewatch
Fireflies.ai
Vowel
Huddl
Hugo
Headroom
Macro
Grain
Tauria
Butter
Acapela
Here
Spinach
Filo.co
Mibo
Toucan
Plectica
Sonero
Sidekick

Project management:

The Incumbents

Innovation and acquisitions are common among traditional players

Incumbents in the remote work technology space provide a range of productivity tools and services, from file-sharing to video and chat platforms to conferencing and business software. Some incumbents, such as video conferencing pioneer Vidyo, have been in the space since as early as 2005; Google’s G Suite was launched in 2006.

As the remote work trend has gained traction over the past few years, established technology companies that haven’t traditionally offered remote work products have entered the space, including Salesforce, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. The space has also seen heightened competition, prompting continual innovation and improvements, as seen when longstanding remote tools provider Cisco introduced voice intelligence features and video messages as part of its collaborative tools offering.

The industry also has a history of significant M&A transactions among incumbent players. Announced initially in November 2020, Salesforce completed the acquisition of messaging platform Slack in July 2021 for USD 27.7 billion. In May 2020, Verizon Communications acquired B2B video platform BlueJeans Network for around USD 500 million and in August 2020, Cisco announced it intends to acquire the AI-based audio communication software company BabbleLabs.

In-house development

Acquisition

Microsoft
check
check
Facebook
check
Google
check
check
Atlassian
check
check
Amazon
check
Enghouse Systems
check
Cisco Systems
check
check
Verizon Communications
check
Vimeo
check
Paylocity
check
Ooma
check
check
Salesforce
check
Citrix
check
check
StrikeForce Technologies
check
Telegram
check
Sine Wave Entertainment
check
Adobe
check
check
Microsoft

In 2011, Microsoft launched Office 365, a collection of apps bundled under one subscription, and accessible across desktop and handheld devices. Since then, the technology giant has consistently added tools and new features to enhance it. Microsoft’s remote work offerings began in earnest with the launch of SharePoint 2001, a collaboration tool for communication amongst teams and centralized content storage. In April 2020, the company changed the product name from Office 365 to Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 uses a subscription model that charges between USD 5-USD 20 per month. It also added a new project management app, Lists, to its enterprise software suite in May 2020 followed by the launch of its productivity tracking tools named Power BI Goals in May 2021, Microsoft announced the tool is built on Microsoft’s data visualization platform, Power BI, allowing users to assign and track tasks to manage productivity.

Word Online was launched in 2010—a rival to Google Docs. Users could create, share and collaborate using office package tools such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In 2011, the company launched Lync, an instant messaging, audio, and video conferencing tool which was combined with Skype for Business after Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype for USD 8.5 billion that same year. Moreover, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn reportedly invested around USD 50 million in virtual events startup Hopin’s oversubscribed secondary Series C round in June 2021. The two companies are expected to collaborate to allow users to extend their live events reach to LinkedIn.

Both tools would take a back seat to Microsoft Teams when it was launched in 2017, however. Now the primary communication tool for Microsoft 365, it provides threaded chats, voice and video conferencing, and file sharing, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint all built in. Microsoft Teams is considered a strong rival to Slack. Teams is included in a Microsoft 365 subscription and was later announced to be directly integrated to its operating system Windows in June 2021. It is especially well positioned given the large built-in customer base of Microsoft 365 enterprise users and the availability of Microsoft Teams at no additional cost. Teams reported 75 million daily active users (DAUs) in 2019, well ahead of Slack's last reported 12 million. As of July 2021, Teams had 250 million monthly active users. As a result, Microsoft faces an antitrust claim filed by Slack citing unfair use of Microsoft’s market power to drive adoption of Teams.

As a result of the Covid pandemic, Microsoft has made efforts to make its offering more suited for hybrid work where organization-wide training programs, conferences, and virtual events are the norm. Microsoft launched a set of new updates to its Office productivity suite in June and September 2021 to bridge the gap between in-office and remote coworkers. The updates and features were announced for Teams (new hardware, audio tracking and people recognition features), PowerPoint (new laser pointer and integrated camera feeds), and its Whiteboard app (new templates for kanban boards).

Microsoft unveiled its virtual reality platform, Microsoft Mesh, which enables users to meet virtually in 3D spaces, in March 2021. Powered by the Azure cloud platform, Mesh allows individuals to interact by appearing on-screen as avatars or animated characters. The platform is expected to be integrated with Microsoft Teams. Furthermore, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Peer5, a developer of technology that enables large-scale live video streaming solutions, in August 2021.

Founded in 2012, Peer5 claims to be the largest peer-to-peer content delivery network. It offers a WebRTC-based enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) that optimizes bandwidth usage. Its self-balancing mesh networks automatically scale as the number of viewers increases—resulting in high-quality live video streaming for larger audiences. Peer5 has raised USD 3.5 million in funding to date, and facilitated large-scale events with as many as 2 million concurrent users with its technology being used by more than 1 billion users. Microsoft intends to integrate Peer5’s eCDN technology into Microsoft Teams to enable large-scale live video streaming.

Microsoft announced plans to acquire the web-based video editing platform Clipchamp in September 2021. Clipchamp is a browser-based video creation platform aimed at the masses (even non-professionals) in the video creation and editing field. It offers a gamut of video editing features, customizable video templates, stock video and audio libraries, and screen recorders. It is particularly popular with online marketers who can use it to compile video presentations or promos and choose from a variety of different output styles and aspect ratios for posting on social media. The platform has more than 17 million registered users and has served more than 390,000 companies to date. Moreover, Clipchamp has raised over USD 15 million in funding. Through the acquisition, Microsoft aims to improve its offerings in the video editing space, noting that Clipchamp is a “natural fit” in extending Microsoft 365’s cloud-based productivity features.

Notable Investors

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase

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