I was excited to see yesterday that HiveLive, a Colorado-based enterprise social networking platform, raised an additional $5.6M to bring its total capital raise to $7.8M. Grotech Capital Group led the round and Joseph Zell will take a seat on the company’s board.
I sat down with John Kembel and his sketch books about 18 months ago when he was first mapping out the social knowledge sharing concept that has become a premier enterprise social networking platform. John and his identical twin brother George Kembel (now the director at Standford’s dSchool) founded DoDots during the boom, and the two remain, to my way of thinking, inspired and inspiring collaborators. John, George and I sat around the table with a couple of Sharpies and sketched out ideas and patterns of information flow.
About six months later, the three of us got together again, this time on a cool but sunny Spring afternoon on the patio of Palo Alto’s Empire Grille. Again the Sharpies came out, and we talked about how people collaborate in around projects and ideas. I’m not sure if it was the wine or the smell of the indelible ink, but the crack was mighty and the ideas seemed to influence the transition of HiveLive from a personal knowledge manager to an enterprise customer collaboration platform. At least I’d like to think it did.
Today, HiveLive is a rich platform that enables companies to create collaborative communities within their organizations, and extending them to include partners and customers. The early thinking about how ideas can be shared selectively is foundational to this unified environment. And while I wanted to see HiveLive come to market as a consumer product (I’ve long believed that controls are key to creating rich collaborative environments that bridge personal and professional networks), the HiveLive team has done the right thing to take this product to the enterprise.
I do hope that at some future point, HiveLive will bring the consumer product to market. But that’s only going to happen if the company can accelerate its growth with business customers that write checks for the software that becomes critical to their business objectives. This latest round of capital is the fuel the company needs to do that.