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Summary:

A year ago at Net: Work 2010 the audience crowned social task management product Cohuman with the people’s choice award. The company was also a Future Ideas Launchpad finalist. So what’s happened to the company since it made a big splash at last year’s conference?

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A year ago at Net: Work the audience crowned social task management product Cohuman with the people’s choice award (here’s a screencast explaining how it works). The company was also a Net:Work Future Ideas Launchpad finalist.

So what’s happened to the company since it made a big splash at last year’s conference? (This year’s Net:Work conference in San Francisco is just a few weeks away on  December 8th.) In short, they’ve become a piece of a larger puzzle, being acquired by Mindjet to help create a broader solution that takes ideas all the way from inception to execution.

Around a year ago Mindjet, known for its mind mapping and brainstorming solutions, decided to expand from just helping people generate and capture ideas to also helping them realize them. To do that they needed some new technology, and after keeping a close eye on the project management space as well as pondering building a product themselves, they happened upon Cohuman, which met their needs and which had been struggling to find funding.

The acquisition went through in August of this year, with Mindjet releasing a rebranded Mindjet Cohuman on September 22. But don’t worry if you loved Cohuman last year, explained Blaine Mathieu, Mindjet’s chief product’s officer in an interview. The new product is still very similar to the one that won raves at Net:Work 2010.

“If somebody was a historic Cohuman user they would recognize Cohuman today other than some enhanced feature functionality and the Mindjet logo on it,” he reports. But the company plans bigger changes going forward.

We’re working through a phased integration between Mindjet’s other products and Mindjet Cohuman. In fact, we’re just a few weeks away from releasing our first beta integration between our application for information mapping and project planning called Mindjet Connect and Cohuman, sharing data back and forth. Then during the course of 2012 we’re going to be merging these applications more and more closely together, so users of either application will see additional functionality being borrowed from the other one. We’re moving down the path in 2012 of making them one thing.

Thos who originally came to Mindjet for a brainstorming app and those who chose Cohuman hoping to manage their projects socially will, hopefully, see the functionality of both products expand until they morph into an integrated offering that handles your projects from first inspiration through to the details of making them reality. The freemium business model will remain the same.

Besides logically expanding Mindjet’s offerings and solving Cohuman’s funding woes, the acquisition also brings Cohuman’s technology to Mindjet’s already existing large user base. “That’s the cool thing,” says Mathieu. “As Mindjet’s been around since 2001, we have over two million paying users today for our applications already, so obviously the first thing we’re doing with Mindjet Cohuman is taking that application to our existing user base and saying, ‘hey, look at this great new application we have for you.’”

“There are a lot of interesting little startups in the social task management area doing some interesting things,” says Matthieu, “but the big advantage that Mindjet has is we’re not a startup starting at zero – zero users, zero viral effect. 80 percent of the Global 2000 use a Mindjet solution today.”

That should mean more exposure and more users for a rebranded and expanded Mindjet Cohuman in 2012.

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