Last night we got the chance to talk with CEO Otto Hilska about Flowdock's $650,000 seed funding round. The team of 8, currently working out of Helsinki, develops a web and desktop application that allows teams to easily track issues and collaborate in real time.
Flowdock first began talks with investors at the beginning of September, and Hilska describes the funding round as more of a happy surprise than a standard Angellist deal. Hilska was working out of Silicon Valley doing customer demonstrations, when another startup spotted their product and mentioned it to one of their investors. Flowdock wasn't seriously looking for funding at the time, but was happy to accept a deal put together by Gil Penchina, CrunchFund, Marten Mickos, and IDG Ventures.
Flowdock's ability to tag items and store conversations already makes it a great alternative for teams who are currently discussing their issues over Skype or IRC, but its killer functionality is its ability to plug into project management tools (Pivotal Tracker, JIRA), version control systems (GitHub, BitBucket, Kiln), customer feedback channels (Zendesk, email lists) and many other sources to keep track of on-going issues in an easily consumable stream.
The company is now focusing its development on what they know: making a useful product for software development teams. When they first began developing their product, Hilska says they really didn't have certain userbase in mind. "Initially we tried not to limit ourselves. We still have lots of users who are not developers, such as in real estate and every other area, but we're not focusing on expanding to other markets right now."
Along those lines, Flowdock is planning on simplifying their product to its necessary functions. "When we began we thought everyone needs a Dashboard," said Hilska. But they eventually came to the realization that the information contained there just wasn't in the best interface, so they got rid of it.
Also in their plans are a beefing up of their native mobile app. There's clearly demand for one. Appcelerator, one of Flowdock's users, went ahead and implemented the first version of their mobile client for free just because they wanted one.
All in all, I see a bright future ahead for Flowdock. With a growth of around 30% per month and a solid amount of seed funding secured, they should be able to focus on what they know and become a common name among development teams.