Shopping around for an online collaboration suite just got a little more interesting as startup ClearSlide has raised nearly US$ 30 million in new funding.
The slide sharing and web based meeting platform is geared toward sales teams, but it could be an intriguing option even compared to industry mainstays like WebEx and GoToMeeting.
Love Those Videos
Who doesn't love to watch videos online? What about videos of your coworkers during meetings? Not quite the same thing, but for people who need to take video meetings, share documents, make presentations and generally work together from a distance, this kind of tool is quite powerful.
Because there are so many options out there for videoconferencing, anyone looking to implement a new system at their company is probably looking for something very specific. This is actually pretty important, and searching for which system to use can get confusing fast if there arent particular tools that are needed or even known about.
In fact, that's one reason why systems like WebEx are so popular. Companies have been using it for years and have a level of familiarity that breeds both contempt and satisfaction. WebEx is great for things like screen sharing, and even desktop remote control during a training session, for example. WebEx has native apps for BlackBerry, iOS and Android for those who need to meet with customers, partners or coworkers on the go.
ClearSlide also offers web based video meetings, but it adds lots of support for sales teams with things like highly integrated email, analytics and tracking. The Live Pitch feature allows for presenting to prospects without having them download anything and the ability to jump between slides and websites.
Analytics and Prospecting
Clearslide offers Salesforce integration, detailed reports and public links to share with prospective new clients. WebEx doesn't go quite as deep on the analytics, but it does offer up to 720p resolution during video calls. It's not clear what kind of video quality ClearSlide is offering at this point.
For GoToMeeting, there's also less of a focus on the analytics and reports. However, Citrix, the company behind GoToMeeting has recently acquired collaboration suite Podio, and it's now integreated with GoToMeeting for a more robust workfow and productivity oriented package.
Pricing and Other Features
ClearSlide appears as the much simpler solution compared to WebEx or GoToMeeting. It's more focused on one particular thing, and that's helping companies close sales. That might be good for them as they try to disrupt the web conferencing business, but for potential customers, it may not be quite the right fit. For example, WebEx integrates with Microsoft Outlook and GoToMeeting has the Podio ingegration mentioned above.
Furthermore, in June Cisco announced WebEx Social, an even more ambitious project that will integrate more social media features and document collaboration couresy of Microsoft Office. Both WebEx and GoToMeeting have US$ 50 per month packages, but ClearSlide pricing is not given on its webiste. There are free, trial and enterprise level packages available.
It comes down to what exact features a company might need, and no doubt all three platforms will continue to evolve. For those companies already doing business with either Cisco or Citrix, breaking in might be a bit tougher for ClearSlide, but then again, those companies may really like the mix of features ClearSlide offers. Tell us in the comments what collaboraton tools you use and what you like or don't like about them.