[qi:056] When it comes to software, collaboration is the next big opportunity. It’s being driven by the proliferation of broadband connections, ubiquitous wireless connectivity and the distributed workforce. From Google (s GOOG) to Cisco Systems (s CSCO) to Microsoft (s MSFT) — all are trying to make their way to the treasure. Meanwhile dozens of startups are aiming to bring their own unique approach to a $10 billion market generically known as collaboration software.
One such startup is San Francisco-based DocVerse, a company started by Alex DeNeui and Shan Sinha, both former Microsoft employees who worked on the Redmond giant’s SharePoint and SQL Server. DocVerse, which emerged from stealth mode today, has received over $1 million in a first round of financing from Baseline Ventures, Michael Dearing and a few other angels.
DocVerse has also developed a Microsoft Office add-on that connects to the software’s back end to enable simple collaboration. Most of us exchange documents with team members via email, with changes highlighted for others to review. But this is a cumbersome process and not the best use of email, quite frankly. With DocVerse’s plugin, sharing and editing of documents is dead simple. It can automatically sync the document to an online vault and from there, with other team members. I used it briefly and really liked it.
Simon Mackie, editor of WebWorkerDaily, took it for a more extensive test drive and shared his take with readers. The company is sharing 200 beta invites with GigaOM readers, but Mac people need not apply. Functionality is also currently limited to PowerPoint, but Microsoft Word and Excel support is coming soon.
Even though it is still early days, DocVerse has a steep climb ahead of it. As I’ve said before, collaboration software is a very crowded space. Moreover, the company will have to live with the constant fear that Microsoft will release a similar offering as part of its future Microsoft Office upgrades. Nor can it ignore the fact that folks are starting to use Google Docs as a way to collaborate, never mind the other competitors that I haven’t bothered to mention. Of course, who said playing and winning in the big leagues, where billions of dollars are at stake, was going to be easy?