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Business  17, Feb 2014

Piethis.com hopes to bring discussions around cloud

Aiming to take cloud to the next level, Singapore-based startup Pie wants to change how companies share knowledge

The year 2013 was the year of cloud. But it was largely limited to file storage and file sharing. The year 2014 promises to take it one step further and have discussions around cloud. Singapore-based startup Pie hopes to change how people and companies share links and knowledge with each other — which often gets piled up and buried in email inbox, chats or folders.

The website, piethis.com, allows users to organise their shared links as visual boards, making it easier to retrieve. “It’s the closest companies can get to reading everyone’s minds, so they can tap in their collective expertise,” says Pieter Walraven, Founder and CPO, Pie.

Pieter Walraven (L) along with Pie Co-founder, Thijs Jacobs

Pieter Walraven (L) along with Pie Co-founder, Thijs Jacobs

The idea of Pie came when Walraven and Co-founder Thijs Jacobs, while in their previous jobs, noticed that people were constantly sharing and discussing inspiring links over email. “We loved the culture of sharing, but we saw that sharing links over email is completely broken. It clutters inboxes and relevant finds easily get buried. After talking to clients and partners about this issue, we learned that they have the same problem. This is when we decided to work on a solution, which eventually resulted in Pie,” says the CPO.

Who should use Pie?
Pie is built for modern teams and companies that believe in an open workplace where information flows freely and everyone shares their ideas. “Despite having a broad range of companies on Pie, our sweet spot is agencies, marketing departments, PR firms and the like, as these people read a lot for work and have to keep track of new ideas, industry trends, competitors, latest viral videos, etc.,” says Walraven.

He feels that these companies share a lot of inspiration and work with clients and partners, which they currently do over email and PDF files. Pie makes their life a lot easier as it’s perfect for these things.

Read Also: 5 technology trends that will shape 2014

As of now, users can sign-up on Piethis.com using their company email ids only. However, there are plans to make it open for all.

Shying away from giving the exact number of Pie’s userbase, Walraven says that in the last few weeks, over 400 new companies have signed up for Pie. A typical company size, according to him, is around 10 people, while the biggest company on Pie is 1,500 people.

Screenshot from piethis.com

“There’s still plenty of low-hanging-fruit both, in terms of improving engagement and product-driven growth. In the past few weeks, we’ve been 100 per cent focused on our engagement and first-user experience. Our one-day and weekly retention numbers are already on par with successful consumer productivity apps, which is exceptional for an enterprise tool,” says the Co-founder.

Where is the moolah?
He says that Pie is free and promises that it will always be free. Users can invite as many co-workers as they want and create as many boards and posts as they want. So how’s he looking to monetise the service? “Soon, we’ll roll out a typical SaaS per-seat per-month subscription model for additional features. Among others, we’ll offer admin control to manage users, more granular cross-company sharing controls, statistics, and integrations with relevant existing software set-ups.”

Read Also: 5 tips for startups to build cloud strategy: The RedMart way

With dearth of funds, the biggest challenge for any startup is marketing. And Pie is not any different. Pie is looking at product-driven growth: users adding their co-workers and inviting their clients, prospects, and partners to collaborate on boards.

Besides, the focus is also on content marketing. “We’re lucky to have hired the former AppAnnie content Marketing Manager who has been instrumental in quickly boosting the traffic of our blog and website. Topics we write about are modern team collaboration and productivity hacks. Other sustainable sources of user acquisition are relevant partnerships and marketplaces,” says Walraven.

Why Pie?
The Founders of the website did not get the URL pie.com, hence they chose to go with piethis. So is the name inspired from the founders’ names — Pieter and Thijs. Walraven laughs and denies the co-incidence. “Our aim is to position ourselves on the cutting-edge of what Reid Hofman calls the ‘consumerisation of the enterprise’. That’s why we picked a name that’s both, friendly and related to sharing. Pie has this friendly ring and it’s something that’s better when shared!” he says.

Pie also has a browser extension, limited to Chrome right now. A mobile app and other browser extensions are in the pipeline as well.

Dhaleta Surender Kumar

Dhaleta Surender Kumar

Surender, or Suren as he's better known in the industry, is the current Editor of e27. Prior to e27, Suren was Deputy Editor at Pitch, India's leading monthly magazine on marketing. Hailing from Shimla, India -- the backdrop of much of Rudyard Kipling's 'Plain Tales from the Hills', this 'poet at heart' journalist brings over 15 years of writing; and 12 years of journalism experience to Asia's tech industry. Mysticism intrigues him. He enjoys reading folklore and mythologies -- a passion that reflects in his poems and lyrical short-stories.

  • Elaine Huang

    The platform looks great aesthetically, and I do hope Piethis doesn’t take too long to develop its iOS version. But I wonder if it’ll be able to retain users. (Not sure what their retention numbers are since they didn’t disclose it here)… If they are able to retain, I wonder if they could share how they managed that.

    To draw a similarity to to-do apps/productivity apps, most people get bored of such tools within days, if not weeks. Of course, I’m just making a generalisation here, based on the people around me. (I do understand that Piethis is not a to-do app/productivityapp, but it does work to help people do what they used to do in a more systematic way).

    I think the main reason why people share inspiring links via email is that Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail is always open on their computers. It’s not difficult to share such a link in an email or through Facebook.

    Here’s the question: How easy/difficult is it to integrate such a platform into an email client/chat application/platform which people use daily/are highly dependent on? Would it be a better solution?

  • thijsjacobs

    Hey Elaine,

    Thanks for the compliment on the aesthetics and all really good points. Pie on iOS is coming soon and I hope it will both surprise and delight – we have some exciting design in store for the app – can’t wait to show everyone.

    Re: people get bored using new tools. This is a big challenge for any Enterprise-ish offering. The question there really is if you’re trying to get people to change their behaviour – we’re not trying to do that; we want what you’re doing already to be way easier, work better and provide more value (and a bit of fun). So far that strategy is working well for us.

    Our long term vision is to be “the place” where you share and discuss things with your colleagues regardless of where/how you’re storing it. That part shouldn’t matter – and if email is and will remain your thing, it’s our job to make it dead easy to get your knowledge out of that silo into somewhere where you can talk with your coworkers.

    Cheers and best,
    Thijs

  • Elaine Huang

    I see. Looking forward to Pie on mobile devices then. :)

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