Huddle Lands in San Francisco, Preps for Battle with Box and Microsoft
By Jim Lundy
The battle of the Content and Collaboration Start-ups just got more interesting. Huddle, which is mainly known for its UK heritage, just landed in San Francisco with a brand new Chief Marketing Officer Chris Boorman. Many know of Chris from his recent stint at Informatica where he helped to take that firm to the next level.
The timing for Huddle couldn’t be better as the interest among business executives in getting an easy to use content and collaborative platform is high. The investment in Content Management and File Sharing Startups is at an all time high, but the level of investment doesn’t always signal success. Often it is the experience and drive of the CEO and the overall execution of the team that determines success.
Huddle Management Team is based in San Francisco
Alastair Mitchell, Huddle’s Founder and CEO, is only 35, but he has has already built and sold several start-ups. This gives him an immediate leg up on other founders who are still getting their sea legs. We also found it very interesting that Alastair is now also based in San Francisco. Combine Alastair with the battle tested Chris Boorman and you have a management team ready to take on all comers.
One of the things that struck us about Huddle is that they have done an effective job of replacing Microsoft SharePoint by leveraging ease of use of their product, along with a compelling TCO story. To us this takes us back to the early days of SharePoint, when Microsoft used to make the same claims against legacy Enterprise Content Management providers. The fact that Huddle has done this in Federal Government accounts is also non-trivial, since due diligence in government tends to be high.
For years, what enterprises have not always realized is that it was three categories of technology that really made up the bulk of how work was getting done in the enterprise: Portals, Content Management and Collaboration. When Microsoft redesigned SharePoint and relaunched it with SharePoint 2007, it was these three concepts in mind that they used when they re-wrote SharePoint and fundamentally got enterprises to use and embrace it.
Today, what we see is that Social Networks are the new Intranets and in many cases the Portal as well. When enterprises look at providers, they still need to see how these major categories of Content Management, Collaboration and Portal needs are met. Business buyers buy on immediate need only, but increasingly even in Cloud, vendors who can meet more of the workplace needs generally do better in the long run.
Huddle will compete against IBM, Google and Microsoft
2013 will be an interesting year in Content Management and Collaboration. Microsoft looks to leverage its purchase of Yammer to add Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) sizzle to SharePoint. At the same time, Microsoft is rolling out SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 (note, the official name for Office is now Microsoft Office 365). Box continues spend to large sums of its VC investment money each month in marketing, and putting marketing hype aside, its primary capability is Cloud Content Management. The interesting thing about Huddle compared to Box is that Huddle has the collaboration part of the product suite figured out pretty well. This puts Huddle up against Microsoft, Google and IBM, all of which offer content, collaboration and portals.
Huddle will be one of the emerging vendors we watch and as we look to compare them against all comers in our upcoming Aragon Research Globe for Content Management as well as in our 2nd annual Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software, which Huddle also participates in.
Editors Note: Box and Huddle were two of the 2012 Aragon Research Hot Vendors for Content Management.