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Make Your Team Hyper Productive with these Office Tools

Berlin startups Morressier, Pitch, Wire, and Rows focus on specific problems with collaboration as the solution.

All teams have to work well together, especially in remote or decentralized working environments. Here are four new collaboration tools from Berlin that modern offices all over the world need.

Rows – “The Spreadsheet Where Teams Work Faster”

The company eatfirst (based in Berlin and Australia) took the complexity out of food orders in an office at lunch time. Later, the founders Torben Schulz and Humberto Ayres Pereira created Dashdash, now called Rows. With this sleek tool, you can create highly complex spreadsheets without having to be able to program macros. So if pivot-tables scare you, Rows is the answer, because it provides an easy way to build up big tables. Best of all, sharing the work with others in your team is slick and safe.

And that’s not all. You can connect your Rows to be fed by external sources such as Twitter or LinkedIn. There are integrations to almost anything, from Analytics to Mailchimp and Salesforce. Rows allows you to integrate information from other (business) tools, so that all data runs together in one place. And you can click together dashboards, reports, or even basic web-apps such as interactive forms out of your Rows.

The seemingly simple idea behind the web-based software has powerful ramifications, and Rows can in some cases compete with lead generation and even marketing automation tools. All this cool stuff comes along with the standard functionality of the spreadsheets we’re used to. So if you are an excel addict, you’ll find all the functions you love in Rows, plus a whole lot more.

American and German investors have backed Rows, this year again to the tune of 13 million Euro.

Pitch – “Helps Teams Create Beautiful Decks in Minutes” 

What Rows is to excel, Pitch is to powerpoint. While a spreadsheet can quickly get too clunky and complex, a presentation in the hands of someone with little design flair can soon get, well, kinda ugly. With Pitch, the balance between professionally layouted templates and the freedom to self-design is foremost. Instead of overloaded charts that you have to squint to read, a presenter ends up with lovely, clear slides with a focus on the most important information. There are templates for all sorts of specific use cases such as sales or HR which contain ready-made argumentation – you just fill in your specific information.

Pitch is a web-based collaborative presentation tool from Berlin.
The presentation tool Pitch includes flexible ready-made templates – © Pitch

Pitch is the latest brainchild of serial founder Christian Reber, whose task management app Wunderlist was guzzled up and shut down by Microsoft for a six-figure sum. With such a history, investors were quick to support Reber’s new venture, and he has already gathered a fresh 85 million dollars in a series B round. With this backing, Pitch aims to make a sort of “YouTube of presentations”, where you can upload individual decks or provide design templates. The “journey of creating, collaborating, presenting, sharing and publishing presentations is covered by one product,” says Reber. The idea is that brands and creators can publish their decks on their public Pitch profile pages.

In a smooth, uncluttered user experience, you have a range of powerful features – you can claim and cluster slides, assign tasks, comment on other's input, and make video calls within the tool. When you send out a presentation, analytics tell you how recipients interacted with it and which slides they spent most time on. Already a business tool for teamwork, a full enterprise version aimed at large customers is coming soon.

All this will only conquer the market if the real-time collaboration and intuitive design is seamless and fun, so Pitch is concentrating on building a “beautiful” software. Rather than big new feature releases once or twice a year, Pitch releases a small update once a week, which they then gather feedback on iteratively.

Morressier – for the “Best Academic Conference Experience” 

The scientific community requires online tools just as much as any other sector. Conferences typically include academic lectures as well as the dissemination of studies and research results. The startup Morressier began offering a platform for sharing such content in 2014.

By now, Morressier organises speakers as well as proposals for sessions. The company’s tool is integrated in live events so that all material, talks, panel discussions and more can be added to a virtual library, which may be supplemented with additional documents. That means presenting scientists reach a much wider audience, including people not attending the conference.

Morressier provides a comprehensive suite of tools for academic conferences.
Morressier co-founders Sami Benchekroun, Rino Montiel, Justus Weweler – © Morressier

Whether a conference is real, virtual or hybrid, Morressier provides invaluable services, such as a conference app for participants, a presentation app, the content library with indexing as well as analytics, management of calls for abstracts, document submission forms, and even sponsoring options for exhibitors.

Morressier’s customers are conference organizers, scholarly publishers, academic institutions such as universities or even clinics, and of course industry players. Over 200 leading professional and scientific organizations have worked with Morressier.

The Berlin startup founded by CEO Sami Benchekroun gathered 15 Millionen Euro in a Series A round in 2021, having gained 5 million previously. The fresh funding will allow Morressier “to launch new community and analytics features that will increase collaboration around conference content”. One of the key reasons for Morressier’s success is surely that it offers clients not just an all-round conference experience, but also “possibilities for revenue generation”.

Wire – Making Collaboration Secure

With all these new collaborative business tools and services, security is a critical issue. People work together online and expect a seamless experience, but from the point of view of the technology required, this is not a trivial matter – especially when it has to be totally safe. For large corporations or governments, it is imperative that online environments for staff are hack-proof.

Cyber attacks, geo-political tensions, complex regulations such as the EU privacy shield GDPR – the slick front-end facades of modern tools and apps require a technical infrastructure that is secure while promoting productivity. This is Wire’s USP.

The company, founded 2012, provides a communications platform with all the usual messenger, voice, video, conference call, file-sharing, and collaboration features we have grown accustomed to in “new work” environments. With the added benefit for clients that they can be sure of absolute privacy and security.

Wire works in the cloud, a private cloud, and on-premise, as well as on all devices, browsers, and operating systems, including Linux. End-to-end encryption is par for the course. There’s even an “on-demand crisis collaboration suite” for quick response and recovery during and after an attack.

With headquarters in Berlin and offices in Switzerland and San Francisco, Wire has more than 1800 customers, including the German government and four other G7 governments as well as companies like EY or Fortum. One reason is that, unlike ordinary providers such as Microsoft or Zoom, Wire itself has no means to decrypt the comms or access the content of its clients.

Secure, productive, compliant – key benefits for big players in fields such as health care, the public sector, or tech, ​​for manufacturing, education and research, insurance, NGOs, even PR or publishing, as well as advisory firms and governments. Whether product, sales, HR, executive or finance, Wire integrates at all levels of business.

The level of continuous technological development required to achieve such levels of security do not come cheap. Just as well that the company’s growth rate soared in 2020, tripling its revenue, despite using 100% open-source code. Wire has also raised over 17 million Euro in funding in 2021.

Do you have an idea that deals with a specialised use case, or solves the difficulty of having multiple people working on one project or document? If you want to build and bring to market the next great office tool, get in touch with us and develop it in Berlin!

Text: Olaf Bryan Wielk, ideenmanufaktur
Header image: © iStock

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