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Hive wants to take on Slack and other collaboration platforms. PHOTO: PollyDot

New York City-based Hive is taking on Slack with a collaboration platform driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

Hive founder John Furneaux said his solution cuts through a lot of the noise Slack generates. Slack is "the fastest growing business tool in history," he acknowledged, but said its growth is slowing "because people are realizing being in an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda isn't all it's cracked up to be."

What Hive Offers

Hive is now publicly available after being a 10 month beta test with 600 customers.

It offers "a little less conversation, a little more action. Can you chat? Sure. But everything is tied to action. Hive brings your messages, actions and files onto one simple dashboard. All your other tools plug right in, and it uses machine learning to spot what you're talking about, and suggest the best-in-class next steps,” Furneaux said.

Driven by AI, Hive enables users to prioritize projects, send messages and files and also automating team tasks through a single dashboard. 

The goal is to streamline collaboration.

“Hive solves the unprecedented chaos that has emerged from the explosion of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps (and email). Teams have an average of 15 apps to use. That's madness. The tools that are supposed to make you more productive cause task switching and headache. Hive brings everything your team needs on one page and integrates with all the other tools you use,” Furneaux said.

Turn Suggestions Into Actions

Furneaux said AI is the big differentiator with Hive, enabling it to turn suggestions into actions. The technology searches its database of processes to respond with automated task suggestions. Hive also allows users to create their own personalized processes, which are triggered in the same way as a growing number of tasks in its database.

It’s an interesting concept for a one-year-old startup that has already attracted interest from Tribeca Venture Partners, which lead a seed funding round of $1.4 million in March.

Addressing the Competition

That said, enterprise collaboration and productivity are tight markets, and Hive has to stand out not only from Slack but from competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft.

“G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) doesn't even have a task manager. Office 365 has just introduced Planner, which is typical (clunky) Microsoft. It's SharePoint v2,” Furneaux added.

“The real competitors are incumbents like Asana, Trello, Basecamp and Wrike. Asana's unpopular. Trello is super popular but useless beyond 10 people because it’s literally a Post-it wall. Basecamp is about 150 in human years and acts like it. (Who browses for and uploads files anymore?!). Wrike's fine, but reveals all its complexity up front, which is off-putting for adoption by less advanced users (the 99 percent).”

Future Integrations

Furneaux said Hive, with its more than 100 integrations, makes it easy to operate seamlessly between tools.

“The real magic in Hive is processes. We've been building a library of best-in-classes processes sourced from the most talented teams in the world, and automatically suggesting them to users at the appropriate time. Think customer complaint handling taught by Zappos. Your intern can execute with the expertise of a pro,” he said.

As more businesses juggle with numerous solutions to increase team efficiency, platforms like Hive, which place a focus back on usability without ignoring the power of other widely used tools, will be at the forefront of a collaborative solutions industry set to be worth over $70 billion by 2019.