Bolste aims to be the next generation of team communication and collaboration software


Bolste is aiming to provide the next generation of team collaboration tools; and although the company doesn't directly compare itself to Slack, that's the market it's going after. Bolste officially launched this morning after spending months in beta.

Since launching the beta last year, Bolste has onboarded 18,000 end users. The company's cloud-hosted application provides team collaboration capabilities similar to Slack, but it goes a step further by integrating Facebook-like social networking and chat windows. For many end users, the general layout of the user interface will likely be familiar.

During a demo of the product, Leif Hartwig, CEO of Bolste, and Jason Stewart, director of business consulting at Bolste, showed off the capabilities, which include easy-to-use team collaboration and private or group messages that look and function similar to Facebook's messaging client.

But Hartwig emphasized that he doesn't want to be Slack, though.

"We think we're the next generation beyond them. We all know ... that the world right now in communication in business has become so chaotic with people getting 200-plus emails a day. Studies show people are wasting two hours a day," Hartwig told FierceEnterpriseCommunications. Essentially, 25 of the average office worker's work day is spent on email.

Add in calendar, texting and other communications, and Hartwig indicated it can be chaotic and difficult to manage. Slack helped to solve the problem, he said. Hartwig believes the design of Slack will make things more chaotic in the long term.

The difference between Slack and Bolste, he said, is an app-centric approach – Slack – versus a people-centric model – Bolste.

"We connect people first in groups and then give them the functionality they need to share files and do chats," he said.

Bolste essentially acts as a virtual conference room for having meetings, sharing calendars and files, having conversations and jointly developing documents. Hartwig set out to design a tool that works the way people work. There are also apps for iOS and Android that extend the capabilities to mobile devices.

"We coined it as the workday solution. We came into this wanting to consolidate the multiple applications an individual uses every day," Stewart said.

With the general availability announcement, Bolste also now has the ability to integrate with Outlook calendars, as well as do time tracking and conduct searches of chats and documents (a feature that will likely be welcomed by its user base). It also sports some gamification elements in the hopes of enticing workers to use the software, all the while earning badges. (If it works for Fitbit, why not collaboration software?)

Hartwig also hinted at additional features to come in the next software update in March. The company plans to add screen sharing.

"We think we can reduce emails internally almost 100 percent with Bolste," Hartwig said.

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