SquidHub knows how to make collaboration apps stick

21 May 2018

The SquidHub team. Image: SquidHub

Our Start-up of the Week is Denmark-based SquidHub, the creator of a clever hub to join your favourite productivity apps together in one useful place.

“SquidHub is a collaboration app for teams,” explained Andreas Overbeck, co-founder of SquidHub.

“It is a ‘virtual cockpit’, some users say; others call it a mix of some of the best elements from Slack, Wunderlist and Google Drive.

‘Remote-first is the future, and the need for efficient tools is constantly increasing’

“In a nutshell, SquidHub is a simple and intuitive tool to get the job done. Our mission is to enable people globally to work together seamlessly.”

The market

Overbeck said that the target market is remote and cross-organisational teams such as start-ups, freelancers and consultants that are currently having a hard time collaborating.

“It’s often not sufficient to use a single application, and clarity is quickly lost in different Slack channels, files cannot be easily found on Google Drive – and who is actually doing what inside the team?

“SquidHub delivers the essential tools in one virtual cockpit, thereby reducing costs, improving quality of the project and improving employee satisfaction.

“It’s a massive market with a big potential. Remote-first is the future, and the need for efficient tools is constantly increasing. Our current focus is the European and US markets.”

The founders

SquidHub co-founders

From left: SquidHub co-founders Asgar Johansen and Andreas Overbeck. Image: SquidHub

Overbeck spent eight years as an IT project manager and consultant undertaking projects for companies such as Samsung and Novo Nordisk.

“I was working with everything from small teams to large international project teams across three continents,” he recalled.

“This foundation has been crucial to understand the needs people have when collaborating in remote teams – and it has been the backbone of SquidHub.”

His co-founder, Asgar Johansen, has a background working for the Boston Consulting Group in its Digital Ventures office in Berlin.

“We both graduated as engineers but are entrepreneurs by heart.”

The technology

As Overbeck explains it, when you work together, the essential elements are:

  • what needs to be done (to-dos/tasks)
  • clear communication (messages)
  • important resources (files and links)

“SquidHub provides clarity and overview of all three elements at a single glance. The concepts are well known and plug-and-play, so anybody will understand how to use SquidHub and be up and running in less than five minutes.”

Overbeck is focused on a single goal: “To be the preferred collaboration app globally and thereby help facilitate better projects and increase employee satisfaction.”

SquidHub is already available for web, iPhone and Android. The core application will be extended with premium features in Q3 2018.

“We currently have more than 10,000 users and we are talking with several investors.”

According to Overbeck, the SquidHub team has experienced two primary challenges along the way.

“Firstly, building four products (to-do list, messaging, file sharing and a calendar) on three platforms has been a massive undertaking, especially because we are committed to deliver exceptional quality in every single detail – something that any start-up must focus on today, because it is expected by the users.

“Secondly, getting your product in front of your users is particularly difficult these days. Once people have seen SquidHub, it’s a no-brainer for them to get started. But it can be rather difficult to get the attention and awareness because there’s so much noise on social media channels, for example.”

Key steps to entrepreneurship

Overbeck finds the European start-up scene to be invigorating but challenging.

“It’s fascinating to see so many passionate people trying to build something of true value. At the same time, it’s getting crowded and the demands for a start-up to succeed are dramatically increasing.

“You can’t just ship an MVP (minimum viable product) any more and expect it go viral. You need to have a strong team with competencies in customer discovery, UX, UI, product development as well as marketing and sales. That’s a pretty big demand if your start-up is only a couple of people.

His advice for fellow founders is to follow a number of key steps.

“Investigate all of your competitors first. What are they doing well? What doesn’t work that well? What are they lacking?

“When you have done your initial investigation, continue with the customer discovery. Understand if there is a need or demand for the product you are thinking of.

“If there is a need for your product, don’t throw yourself into building the product right away. Spend the time needed on getting the UX right. When the UX is settled, you can proceed and apply a nice user interface on top.

“With the UX and UI in place, you will be able to test your product on potential customers. You will now have a more sound confirmation of whether there is a potential for your product/business.

“If everything looks promising, you can head into the product development. Notice that product development isn’t cheap (unless you have all the necessary skills in your team), so, getting the first four steps right before starting product development is essential.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years