Tandem sketches a future of remotely adapted hybrid work – TechCrunch

Tandem, a startup that creates business communication tools, has launched a new product called Spaces, hoping to combine remote and in-office work so that all staff feel properly connected to their colleagues. The release of Spaces comes as many companies are digesting a return to offices and the question of how to manage a team that works from multiple locations.

In 2019, Tandem was the hottest company to emerge from Y Combinator. At the time, TechCrunch noted that the company was “developing communications software for remote teams after pivoting from crypto work.” He landed $7.5 million before the pandemic hit.

Talk about the right place and the right time, yeah? Rajiv Ayyangar, CEO and co-founder of Tandem, recently told TechCrunch that things at his startup had gone vertical with the onset of COVID-19 and the massive shift to working from home that followed. The CEO said his business had grown about 30 times in just a few weeks.

I took a tour of Tandem’s current software to get a feel for their new service. Generally speaking, Tandem is an application that allows teams to communicate, follow their meetings and gather in chat rooms.

You used related software. What I will say is that the layout of Tandem is quite smooth which means it offers an easy to learn user experience. It also has some nice touches, like icons near usernames so you can see what software your colleagues are using at any given time. If you see a developer using an IDE, maybe wait to ping them, right?

But where Tandem seeks to stand out from the pack of software products enabling computer-to-computer communications is its Spaces product. In short, the service works with video-ready hardware inside office spaces like conference rooms and general purpose areas, allowing remote staff to connect to different parts of the office, listen or to participate actively.

In one demo, I was taken into the Tandem desktop in real time, participating in meetings and generally being a nuisance for a little while. We showed up on TVs in conference rooms and what I think was some kind of lounge space.

At this point, I need to establish my bona fides when it comes to remote work. I have been an intermittent telecommuter since my early years in college. My first job as a journalist was for a company on another continent. I have never been to the office in the years that I worked there. At TechCrunch, I’ve been both remote and IRL, and my last gig was more in-person than not. So when it comes to zooming in on meetings, managing over the phone, and generally using whatever software is available over time, I’m aware of the benefits and challenges that working remotely brings.

With that in mind, I love what Tandem has built. It works with many hardware options, including inexpensive laptops, so even more budget-conscious teams will be able to access the service. You don’t need to buy a huge rig to bridge the gap between office staff and those far away. Naturally, having a big screen with a good camera and mic will make Spaces better, but you can also add a cheap laptop if you’re on a budget.

When you select a particular “space” in an office inside the app, you can connect silently or with video and audio, depending on your needs. Does it seem scary in practice to appear on desktop screens? Not really, because remote employees are tapping into the office — not the homes of their colleagues.

The service launched on April 4. Naturally, we asked the company how its release was going. According to Ayyangar, it’s “too early to share numbers”, but the CEO emailed some positive customer feedback which he said was disclosed “verbatim”. Both comments emphasized the importance of community connection, which was likely music to Tandem’s ears.

Tandem is a SaaS startup, which means that its customers subscribe to its service on a recurring basis. The regular tandem costs $8 per month per user, plus for enterprise features. Spaces, on the other hand, cost $50 per company per month, or more, again, for professional-grade equipment.

Ayyangar said around 800 companies use Tandem today, but we couldn’t dig deeper to get a customer count. (The startup offers a free tier, as do many self-service products in the modern software world.)

The spaces could help Tandem generate more revenue from its existing customers, or perhaps attract new customers. Either way, it’s well timed.

What interests us next is how much the new product helps Tandem grow; it hasn’t raised more capital since this late 2019 round, according to Crunchbase data, which means it’s likely gearing up to do so. If Spaces is doing well, we may have some new company news sooner rather than later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.