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7 startups bridging the gap between old and new office communication tools

We live in a digitized world where electronic communication has replaced the traditional physical format of communication. But in reality, there is still a gap between the old world of hard copies of offer letters, contracts in binders, and confidential documents in classified folders and the new world of security-enabled instant communication of decisions, transactions, and approvals. The old world needs to catch up to the new world. The new digitized world has to also ease the transition of their employees, customers, partners, and archaic systems to the digital world. There are some startups that are specifically working on bridging this gap — equipping individuals and organizations to embrace the digital revolution with new office communication tools while at the same time ushering legacy organizations into a new digital world that’s more powerful, cost-effective, and efficient.

Ripcord

Nothing is more representative of the archaic office systems than the chaos of a pile of physical documents. These take up space, consume an enormous amount of time to sort through and find the right document, and waste precious environmental resources. Ripcord addresses the Godzilla of office clutter by converting the chaos of paper documents to organized, easy to find digital documents. Ripcord automates the entire process of separating binders, unclipping paper clips, scanning, classifying, and indexing by bringing together a variety of technology disciplines. The team at Ripcord is composed of data scientists, industrial designers, roboticists, and machine learning experts, coders, security experts, and many more. These digitized documents are then stored in the cloud and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The team calls itself “the world’s first robotics digitization company.” Ripcord is based in Hayward, Calif., and has raised $80 million in funding over four rounds. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has invested in Ripcord along with leading investors Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Lux Ventures, and Legend Star.

HelloSign

Signatures are necessary for almost all important documents — sale deeds, contracts, employee offer letters, policies — you name it. While we have moved on to agile and cloud environments to keep pace with evolving businesses, we still depend on legacy pen and paper to sign off these important milestones resulting in a fragmented and often frustrating experience. Clunky, outdated tools designed for yesterday’s work environment slow the pace. HelloSign offers products and solutions to make that entire process of printing, signing, scanning documents very efficient. HelloSign comes with capabilities of eSignature, an online fax feature called HelloFax, and HelloWorks document workflow. HelloSign makes everyday documentation work easy and quick. HelloSign has raised a total of $16 million in funding over four rounds and has been recently acquired by Dropbox for $230 million. HelloSign and Dropbox both believe in fixing the broken business processes and bringing the best experience for end-users. Together, they will be able to create an accelerated impact on a wider audience.

Nexmo

The flipside of missing out on customer interaction can come with a heavy price in the digital world. The competition is continuously trying new ways to engage with the customer in this increasingly busy world. It is important to be accessible to the customer at every step of life and decision making by enabling seamless communication. Nexmo helps enhance customer interactions with chat, voice and video call capabilities. Enterprises and applications can use Nexmo SMS, chat, voice and video call APIs to connect with their customers in a secure way. Nexmo connects 1,700 carriers in 235 countries and territories. Some of the world’s top companies such as Airbnb, Alibaba, Uber, and Snapchat use Nexmo to connect with their global users. Industries ranging from travel, transportation, security, messaging, e-commerce, finance, payments use Nexmo in different ways to reach their customers. Logistics giant ARAMAX, ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar, voice-bot app developer Opearlo, and the largest independent digital remittance company, Remitly, are some of the many interesting use cases of Nexmo platform. Nexmo has raised $21.8 million in funds in six rounds and has been acquired by VoIP service provider Vonage.

Twilio

Twilio is a cloud communication software for customer engagement. Twilio API lets you connect with your customers on the channels or the devices that they use, anywhere in the world whether it is in your website, app, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, or SMS. Twilio helps you navigate through the complex maze of carriers, global regulations, and networking gears so that you can focus on engaging your customers. Over 4,000 developers across the world use Twilio to build connectivity in their apps that have resulted in 6 billion voice and instant message interactions — a whopping 13 million interactions per day. It is most likely you have used Twilio yourself without knowing — perhaps when you call your Uber driver, or when you set up your WhatsApp account. WhatsApp is Twilio’s largest client and uses Twilio to verify accounts and logins.

Twilio with its large customer base and developer network has grown into a mighty unicorn. Even Wall Street seems to love Twilio. The company raised $150 million at $1.2 billion valuations by going public. Shares doubled the first day and doubled again within two months. Its market capitalization as of mid-June had soared to $18 billion.

VoxImplant

VoxImplant is a cloud-based telephony and video communication platform for businesses and developers. It takes the pain out of adding video and telephony capabilities and integrates real-time communication into modern mobile and web applications easily. Voice automation, voice recording, voice identification, and CRM integration capabilities let businesses serve their customers in an optimized way. It accepts, initiates, and connects calls. Business logic can also be embedded reducing the dependence on backend services.


Shoeboxed

Organizing receipts and expense tracking is fun, said no one, unless you are Monica Geller (you do remember “Friends,” right?). Receipts, receipts, and more receipts leave one overwhelmed, especially around the time accounts have to be done and taxes have to be filed. Shoeboxed may be the ultimate solution for this rather painstaking task. Shoeboxed scans receipts, extracts human-verified data from the receipts, then organizes and categorizes the data in a secure way. This data is easily searchable and accessible from anywhere. Shoeboxed enables its users to streamline accounting and prepare expense reports. It works seamlessly with other products such as QuickBooks Online, Xero, Wave Accounting, and a dozen others. The Shoeboxed accounting reports are accepted by tax departments for the purpose of tax filing. With Shoeboxed, you can scan away all your receipts with your device camera for the Herculean task of expense tracking. You can also opt for their free postage-paid Magic Envelope to mail all your paper receipts straight to their office. Tax filing may not be as stressful next year!

GetAccept

GetAccept is a next-generation sales tool using AI-based eSignature and document tracking functionality. GetAccept helps you grow your business by closing deals efficiently by reinventing the Document and eSignature workflow with machine learning for the specific purpose of closing a deal. It lets you create legally secure proposals, track the flow of proposals and even gives you insights on whether the proposal has been viewed, and how much time was spent on each section. It uses intelligent automation and recipient engagement to push forward your proposal by creating marketing emails and reminders. And finally, GetAccept makes it easy for your prospect to close the deal with their much acclaimed, “world’s easiest” e-signature.

Office communication tools: Playing catch-up

Communication tools are catching up with new human behaviors. Auto-response — efficient, instant, and ubiquitous — seems to be the defining characteristics of these new-age tools. Office communication tools will continue to evolve with changing human behavior and needs.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Twain Taylor

My interests lie in DevOps, IoT, and cloud applications. I began my career in tech B2B marketing at Google India, after which I headed marketing for multiple startups. Today, I consult with companies in The Valley on their content marketing initiatives, and write for tech journals.

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Twain Taylor

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