Singapore startup work chat platform Pie has raised a US$1.2million round of funding from GREE Ventures, Koh Boon Hwee, Wavemaker Partners (DFJ Network), Dennis Goh, and Ivan Yeo of YSS Capital. Including an initial funding round of US$800k Pie has raised a total of US$2million to date.
According to a statement from co-founder Pieter Walraven, Pie is chat for work geared at the less tech-savvy workers that currently still use email, Skype and WhatsApp. Instead of targeting and designing for tech companies with the usual developer-focused bells and whistles, Pie’s focus on a more simple and friendly experience.
With Pie’s fresh capital injection, the company hopes to expand the team, roll out paid features such as admin, and to focus on establishing distribution partnerships in Japan and the US. Pie’s previous investors include Wavemaker Partners (DFJ Network), Digital Garage, Publicis Groupe, Koh Boon Hwee, Peng T. Ong, Chris Evdemon, Porter Erisman, and Pieter Kemps.
“We believe the real blue ocean opportunity of enterprise messaging lies in a simple offering with the same broad appeal as popular consumer apps,” Walraven said. He added that outside the software developer niche, most people still use WhatsApp for work.
"People realise it’s not ideal, but they won’t switch to an enterprise equivalent because it has a few enterprise features slapped on. It’s key to also offer the same high level of simplicity, design, and speed of the best consumer apps for most people to make the jump,” Walraven said.
He added that instead of competing on the number of features and integrations, the company is more concerned with issues such as user-onboarding, performance, design, and usability. Currently the team targets those in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries.
Meanwhile, end of last year Pie was invited by Apple as one of the few companies in Asia to come work on the Apple Watch. The app went live on the official Apple Watch launch date and was featured in the ‘One-Touch Messaging’ category across Asia.