Web ApplicationsWhat's the best app for collaboration in a startup?
[+11] [13] Wil
[2010-07-13 19:59:41]
[ webapp-rec collaboration startup ]

I am getting involved in a startup with at least one cofounder who is not in the same city.

I'm looking for a good app that can help us manage the project. Basecamp [1] seems OK, but underfeatured to me. Any other good recommendations that has a free version we can try before buying would be great. Thanks!

(4) So you have tried the free version… or the 30 day trial option? Could you also elaborate on the missing features as your requirements (e.g timelines ? milestones ? chat and whiteboard capabilities ?) otherwise I see this as subjective. It would also help users give you a more detailed answer. - phwd
Tried the 30 day trial. I think the main thing was time tracking. The other thing I would have liked is a wiki type place. I know they have whiteboards...but not quite the same thing. - Wil
Try not to ask questions with "best" or "good" in them as they tend to be subjective. When you asked the question you would have seen "The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed." appear below the title. - ChrisF
there is time tracking with Basecamp, it's just not a "first-class citizen". As for a wiki type, I think Backpack has that covered. The just released 37signals suite looks like a great set of tools for a startup. - GoodEnough
[+7] [2010-07-14 01:46:26] Dina

I totally agree with you about Basecamp being underfeatured. I wrote about that here [1].

I recommend checking out LiquidPlanner [2]. It's got all of the collaboration of Basecamp (even more, and more organized) and a robust scheduling engine and task management system. LiquidPlanner offers a free trial, so no problem there.


(3) please do not add your signature to your answer it is already "signed" with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page. - phwd
[+4] [2010-07-14 05:56:06] mbrochh

I use Google Apps. It has a free plan for up to 50 users and is very good. You get the best email on planet, Google Docs [1] (with real time collaboration), shared company calendar, Rietveld [2] (best code review tool) and dozens of additional apps from the marketplace (which are unfortunately all overpriced, IMHO). In short: It can do nearly everything the tools from 37signals [3] can do but it is for free.


I like google apps too, but looking it over, I miss the nice and easy to do lists that basecamp (and competitors) have (with built in commenting) It's just easier to use than busting open a word processing doc or spreadsheet. - Wil
[+1] [2010-07-13 20:33:37] GoodEnough

Maybe you could find your answer here: "Online project management services" [1]


[+1] [2010-07-15 03:31:11] evanmcd

We used to use Basecamp, and liked it a lot. However, our IT dept. was not thrilled with using an offsite service to store project files, so I looked around and found ActiveCollab [1].

It's quite a lot like BaseCamp, but more full featured (aren't they all?), and installs on your own server (it uses PHP and MySQL).

Installation is quite simple and requires little more than FTP skills.

I've been using it now for 2 years and really find it good for project management type tasks.


[+1] [2010-07-15 04:32:51] Ami

Teambox [1] has a really cool concept and it recently went open source.


Looks pretty good, except I'd really like time tracking included if possible. - Wil
[+1] [2010-07-15 11:49:29] Alexander Kosenkov

Google Wave [1] has a lot of potential. I know that some teams use it to:

  • Track requirements and save design documents
  • Track tasks and ToDo items (like JIRA [2] or Bugzilla [3])
  • Collaborate on documents online in realtime (just like in Google Docs [4] + comments)
  • Completely replace intra-team e-mails and IM (but no videochat yet)
  • (Anything else? Their open API allows to add any kind of functionality you need.)

At least, you must give it a try.

[2] http://
[3] http://

[+1] [2010-07-22 11:48:39] Wil [ACCEPTED]

I found and ended up going with Comindwork [1]. Had the time tracking and alot of other nice features in the base free package.


[0] [2010-07-14 03:16:14] community_owned

This may not be popular, I don't know, but the new Sharepoint 2010 [1] is pretty slick right out of the box. There are a lot of sites you can make specifically for collaboration that tailor to what you may or may not need.


Isn't sharepoint incredibly expensive? - Wil
Check out Microsoft's Bizspark program. You basically get all of Microsoft's apps and tools for a nominal fee for about 3 years. It's intended for startups specifically. Of course the goal is to get you locked in to using Microsoft, so that may not be ideal. - Ben Gartner
[0] [2010-07-14 13:02:48] Larry Port

I'm guessing you already have Skype up and running. IM, screensharing, and videoconferencing can't be beat, we've been using that all day long for years.

Shot out of a cannon: we have a web-based project management and time tracking and billing solution [1] called Rocket Matter.

The trick is, it's tailored to the legal vertical. But it's really just project management. I've been interested to see the interest level from general project management peeps.

So if you're interested in giving it a spin and can ignore the legal-specific business language, let me know, or just sign up for the 30-day trial.


Are you able to videoconference Skype with multiple people? Haven't been able to figure that out yet. - Wil
[0] [2010-11-10 16:00:10] Farinha

Just found out about bettermeans [1]. Take a look at the review in The Next Web [2].


[0] [2011-01-25 17:51:34] user8164

With startups it's extremely important not to set limitations. Many companies do this through software and it ends up biting them in the back. If you go with just a simple CRM or PM tool, you are most likely going to realize in due time you need more applications to manage other aspects of your business, which will then lead you into a maze of integration issues and high monthly costs. You've been warned!

The best solution to this problem is to go with an application that can combine the most possible business operations into one. By having everything already in one application, you don't need to integrate with other apps and deal with the lack of efficiency.

These applications are rare, but they exist. WORKetc combines CRM, PM, Billing, and help desk software, and brings collaboration to all of these aspects. You can collaborate on everything from projects, leads, and discussions, to support tickets, invoices, and calendars. It has all the bells and whistles, and you can compare it to Basecamp and other PM apps here:

[0] [2011-06-25 20:07:00] Capt.Nemo

Check out FreedCamp [1]. It is something of an alternative to Basecamp, and offers Basecamp imports as well


[0] [2011-06-26 21:59:41] Michael A

Owning a business with a virtual team myself, I previously had tried using a few separate apps to manage operations: Salesforce for CRM, basecamp for projects and collaboration, and freshbooks for billing (we also had time-tracking add-ons among other things).

The problem with this is simple: collaboration and overall business management was made inefficient and discouraging. Team members constantly jumping between apps and entering information more than they needed to was error prone and bad on morale, and simply communicating had become too much of a mess when information was spread out so poorly. Also, the cost of three apps monthly was not helping.

Collaboration skyrocketed and overall business management became easier when we adopted WORKetc. It integrates CRM, project management, and billing into one system - while bringing collaboration to every aspect of using it. I am able to keep all business data central, manage the entire client lifecycle in one place, and collaborate on every aspect of business management in on, web based system. They also just recently integrated with google apps, which works wonders when using Gmail!

This is the WORKetc website:

Are you affiliated with in any way? If so, you should disclose it. - Vidar S. Ramdal