Igor Ryabenkiy

Aug 4, 2020

2 min read

Productivity tools

When I am asked about my favorite investment industries, I always look at productivity tools first.

I have been interested in productivity tools for a long time. This area has been around for more than 20 years. It was one of the brightest and first industries to become a billion-dollar story, now a multi-billion one. Salesforce is a good example. They were the first to make a quality distributed CRM system. After the industry breakthrough, we are still acting like the heroes from “The blind men and an elephant”, so there are more and more new tools for productivity.

The meadow is vast, tens of thousands of apps are currently working on it, and only 50–100 of them are recognized leaders. Why is this industry important and why do we spend time on such applications? Because the workflow organization is essential, and the more efficiently it is built, the more the company has opportunities to save and earn.

In our portfolio, such projects have existed for a long time. The most successful ones — PandaDoc, which we invested in 2013, or ToutApp which was bought by Marketo.

Miro — endless whiteboard, becomes a favorite tool for the distributed teams of majority of Fortune-100 companies.

Most of all, we look at projects designed for large horizontal groups. We give preference to this, but we also consider other areas. For example, labor automation, productivity in HR, medicine, law, or commerce.

Over the past couple of years, the productivity tools market has been overloaded with startups. Despite the great abundance of tools, there is no sense that the train has already left the station and there won’t more interesting and breakthrough tools. New projects continue to appear. They either improve an old process or bring new ways to work. On top of that, a large number of projects appear that help us to realize this and work with this abundance of tools.

We have made several promising investments in the field during the previous quarter.

Now we are seeing a sharp increase in the number of transactions, interest, and high ratings of productivity tools companies. I think the current situation, where many companies are beginning to work remotely, was influenced by the prospects and advantages of this process. As a result, this will lead to an increase in the demand for productivity tools.

Productivity tools are the present and future. In your opinion, what other types of projects can be attributed to this direction? Write in the comments or via PM 3–5 projects that you think are the coolest. Maybe I have not heard of them, or maybe you have ideas about tools that the market lacks, and what can be done?