We asked some of our Start-up of the Week participants to tell us what tools they love to use for staying in touch with colleagues.
Let’s face it, chat apps and communications tools are pretty essential to our daily working lives. Whether you’re a software developer, a researcher or CEO of your own start-up, you need to be able to contact your colleagues.
Our reliance on our beloved tech tools only increased during the pandemic when many of us got to grips with remote working for the first time.
Now, as society continues its embrace of hybrid work, remote work and distributed working, our comms tools are only going to prove even more indispensable.
There’s a lot of choice when it comes down to which tools you and your colleagues use. Many companies are also fast introducing new products designed to make connecting with our co-workers easier.
Generally speaking, it seems that the most-loved communication tools are the classics that we all know and love already.
When SiliconRepublic.com asked some of our Start-up of the Week participants to name their must-have communications tools, they opted mostly for the old reliables but also had some suggestions that you may not be familiar with.
Read on to find out who chose what and how the tools they love could help you at work.
There are a lot of Slack fans out there, and five start-up founders recommended the messaging platform to us.
Strikepay’s Oli Cavanagh described the app as “the lifeblood of communication for our whole remote-first team”.
Conor Lyden of Trustap also said his team uses Slack for all internal communication. “It’s great that so many other products we use can integrate into it and give us one connected hub,” he added.
It’s no surprise that so many founders and their colleagues rely on Slack every day as it was designed specifically for workplace communication.
The Salesforce-owned company also makes regular updates to its product offering. Last year, it made sure it was serving its hybrid and remote users by introducing Slack Huddles, a live conversation tool aimed at digital-first companies.
This was followed by other updates such as Slack Clips, a video collaboration tool aimed at a similar market to Huddles.
A mainstay of the Silicon Republic team, Microsoft Teams is broadly similar to Slack in that it offers video conferencing, chat functions, file storage and lots of integrations. It can also be used in tandem with other Microsoft tools such as Outlook, Word and Excel.
Danalto co-founder Albert Baker said he has “a love-hate relationship” with Teams, but added that he doesn’t know how his company would have survived the pandemic without it.
Speaking of the pandemic, Teams’ user base increased at such a rate that in March 2020 it reported a Europe-wide outage.
Like Slack, Teams has upped its game on the hybrid and remote working front over the past two years. It introduced new chat features, video layouts and wellness tools. It is also trying to run on less power than before to minimise service outages.
Other start-ups who swear by Teams include Novus Diagnostics and Tympany Medical.
Tympany Medical CEO and co-founder Dr Liz McGloughlin uses both Slack and Teams despite them being competitors.
“We grew remotely during the pandemic with some team members not seeing each other face to face for over 15 months,” she said, adding that she and her colleagues now send messages even when they’re in the same room.
The ubiquitous messaging app is used by millions of people for work and pleasure. The Meta-owned app doesn’t have as many functions as some other tools on this list, but can still be useful for informal and fast communication.
For these reasons, Stimul.ai’s Naomh McElhatton singled it out as one of her team’s must-haves.
“Honestly, we use a number of tools in product development, but what I actually love the most given our current set-up is WhatsApp,” she explained.
“It is our connector for brain dumps, staying in touch and being able to swap thoughts in real time, super quickly at any time of the day.”
WhatsApp has also been rolling out updates that might come in handy for users. The platform introduced the option to encrypt chat history backups last year.
The app’s most recent update is slightly more frivolous, but it could still come in useful for injecting a bit of levity into workplace communication. As of very recently, you can now send emoji reactions on WhatsApp.
Novus Diagnostics co-founder and COO Dr Elaine Spain included the video conferencing platform in a list of aids that helped her and her team survive the pandemic.
Thanks to a surge in users during this period, Zoom’s bottom line soared. Like some of the other tools on this list, it also steadily introduced new functions aimed at hybrid and remote users.
In March, it said it was letting users attend meetings as animal avatars to “inject fun” into work meetings.
The feature might not be for everyone, but Zoom has also been working on whiteboard features, automated translation tech, a tool for hybrid workplace video calls and a hotdesking feature.
“We use Discord as a team as a virtual workspace, which works great,” said Dave Byrne, founder and CEO of ReaDI-Watch.
Discord is a VoIP and instant messaging social platform that is particularly popular with gamers. Users have the ability to communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files in private chats or as part of communities called servers.
This Swedish start-up offers dispersed employees a virtual office space to meet through voice and video connections.
Legitify CEO and co-founder Aida Lutaj listed the tool among several she needs in her working life. Lutaj’s co-founder and Legitify CPO, Arko Ganguli, agreed the tool is useful for interacting with other colleagues “on an ongoing basis”.
While it may not be as established as some others on this list, Teemyco raised $3.2m for its virtual office spaces in June 2021.
10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.