French Startup: Azendoo To Take On Asana? INTERVIEW

Google Wave was a great idea and a great product. For whatever reason though it didn’t survive. The ability to collaborate on tasks and allow each team member to contribute to the overall task. It was an end to superfluously long email threads with 15 people interjecting. Google Wave organized everything in easy to read and easy to understand “waves” where you could just as easily identify who said what and who made what change.

Google ended up shutting down Google Wave and it was eventually turned into a project in the Apache Foundation’s incubator program under the name Apache Wave. Google originally cited user adoption as the reason they pulled the plug on Wave.

Earlier this year Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz unveiled Asana which they’re touting as the solution to email. Tasks can be collaborated on across multiple people, edits are maintained and credited to the editor and overall it functions as a superior product to Wave.

Now, a French startup called Azendoo is looking to shake up the collaborative work space.  Azendoo simplifies project  management and planning and integrates to do lists, messaging, documents, document sharing, editing and teamwork synchronization.

We got a chance to interview the team from Azendoo below. Check out the interview below:

What is Azendoo?

Azendoo is an online collaborative task and project management solution, enabling organizations to increase productivity, align their teams and get things done.

Organizing and maintaining to-do lists can be extremely time consuming for each of us; Azendoo was designed to solve this issue and help you keep track of your work while reducing your email. Azendoo simplifies projects planning, documents sharing and teamwork synchronization for both your professional activity and your life. Companies and organizations of all sizes, from around the globe, are using our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution to improve employee productivity and engagement.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Azendoo was co-founded by four software professionals: Grégory Lefort, Benoît Droulin, Christophe Gagin and Bastien Murzeau

Grégory LEFORT : Co-fonder and COO

·      Strong experience in foreign markets, father of three children and golf addict

·      International Join Ventures management

·      In charge of launching and reorganizing companies in Europe and in the US

·      Product placement, marketing, and complex solution selling

·      Further information on Linkedin :

Benoît DROULIN : Co-fonder and CEO

·      Entrepreneurship, IT and outdoors sports enthusiast

·      Mergers and acquisitions / Corporate strategy (LBO, corporate buyout)

·      Corporate Management (Software, Sales, Consulting)

·      Sale of complex solutions for key accounts

·      Further information on Linkedin:

Christophe GAGIN : Co-fonder and Product Manager

·      IT product launching / In charge of solutions selling

·      International technology evangelist

·      Analysts relations manager

·      Senior Consultant before sale / after sale

·      Further information on Linkedin:

Where are you based?

Azendoo’s headquarters are located in Bordeaux, France, and Greg, one the co-founders, is working from Paris. We are moving in new offices next October in an eco-innovative building (called The Darwin Project) also based in Bordeaux.

What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?

In France the startup scene has radically changed over the past few years, it’s quickly growing. More and more startups are being created and many events (such as “Le Web” or “The French Tech Tour”) are promoting the French startup scene all around the globe.

We choose to settle down in Bordeaux because it’s a growing city only few hours away from Paris. Many Parisian startups are moving here. The south west of France is well known to be the “French California”, so we decided to move here to be a part of this effervescent movement.

How did you come up with the idea for Azendoo?

Benoit, Gregory, Chris and Bastien were all working in big international software companies for years. They all faced organizational problems, lack of team synchronization and bad collaboration within their enterprises. At last, they realized they were spending more time trying to get organized than really getting things done. Beyond this lack of organization, they all came up with an email overload problem. They all wanted to change things and so they decided to develop a new solution that could resolve all this problems in one interface.

That’s how they came up with the idea of Azendoo.

What problem does Azendoo solve?

Azendoo answers every organization lack of productivity. We all feel that, whateverenterprise we are working for, our managers know what needs to be done but they often don’t know what’s the best way to achieve their goals (in terms of organization and team synchronization). They use emails (with multiples cc) to send tasks to their teams, they organize several meetings, they repeat messages to each team-members etc.

More over, did you know that in average an employee receives between 75 and 200 emails per day? Well, Azendoo reduces this volume of emails. Indeed, as you’re connected to your co-workers on the app you can communicate on what needs to be done, what has already been done, who has done what, or you can share ideas, documents (work all together on the same document), delegate tasks, organize and hierarchize your tasks etc.

To sum up Azendoo helps you get organized so you will never have to work about your work again. You focus on what needs to be done and not how to do what needs to be done.

What’s your secret sauce?

We are zen and so is our app!

No, to be serious, our secret sauce is our engineers’ team. Since the beginning we have worked hands to hands with our users. The app was on beta test from January until June 2012 and we had about 1000 users from all over the world. Therefore we spend a lot of time listening to their needs and their propositions, and our magic engineers developed great tools to answer thoseneeds.

Azendoo is more than a simple collaborative task manager, you can manage projects, share ideas, ask for approvals, delegate tasks, discuss with your team-mates, share documents and so on. We will never stop upgrading our application.

What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?

At first we wondered either to sell the app to the companies from the top or let the employees use Azendoo, thanks to a freemium version, and convince themselves their managers afterwards.

We finally choose the second option, the employees are the ones who are going to use Azendoo, and so they should be the first ones to try it.

What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?

The first challenge we overcome was the first fundraising for seed capital because it’s not something very common in France. We needed efficient engineers to build the app we imagined so, like everybody, we needed money to start everything.

What’s the first thing you would do for Azendoo with a one million dollar investment?

We actually raised 1,3M $ last July. There are lots of things that we want to do, but first of all we started our marketing campaign. Azendoo is an online collaborative tool, therefore it’s not easy for everyone to understand what it is doing, and why he needs Azendoo.

But the most important thing is that we want to export the solution to the US. We are quite aware that the collaborative market is effervescent in the US, and we surely want to be there to present Azendoo. This fundraising will thereforehelp us conquer the American market.

What’s next for Azendoo?

The burning things is the mobile app coming in September and a brand new website. We are also planning on peaching at various events to present the application.


Check out Azendoo here

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