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Meister, a cloud-based workplace collaboration software provider, today announced that it has raised $52 million in a round of funding led by private equity firm Verdane.
Founded in 2006, Meister hasn’t garnered the same sort of global limelight as others in the space have, but the Austrian company has amassed an impressive roster of customers in its 15 year history, including Deloitte, IBM, Dropbox, and SAP. The company pitches itself as a “modern alternative to U.S. providers,” and with its fresh cash injection is setting out to challenge the big incumbents from the U.S..
So, what does Meister offer, exactly? It has three core products, including mind mapping tool MindMeister; a task management app called MeisterTask; and a newly-launched collaborative note-taking app called MeisterNote. Collectively, Meister’s product suite competes with the likes of XMind and Whimsical (mind mapping); Trello and Asana (task management); and Evernote or OneNote (note-taking).
The main selling point behind Meister’s suite of products is that they’re are deeply integrated with each other. For example, users can launch a project plan in MindMeister and then instantly turn individual ideas into tasks within MeisterTask.
“We enable teams to beautifully work together,” Meister cofounder and CEO Michael Hollauf told VentureBeat. “With MeisterTask we solve team alignment and workload management. With MindMeister, our oldest product, we solve for creative collaboration and asynchronous brainstorming.”
The company also offers enterprise-focused features such as single sign-on (SSO), team management, and direct integrations with Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Slack, Zendesk, and more. And a reports dashboard enables managers to generate customized reports to visualize team and project performance and track logged time.
Prior to now, Meister had only raised a small amount of seed funding more than a decade ago, and its latest fundraise is particularly notable given that it claims to have been profitable since 2008. So why raise now? As with many massive fundraises over the past 16 months, it largely comes down to rapid growth driven by the global pandemic — and the need to capitalize quickly. In 2020 alone, Meister said that it gained 8 million new users globally.
“There has been a huge and lasting increase of demand for online collaboration software since the pandemic due to acceleration of digitization efforts in businesses and educational institutions,” Hollauf said. “It’s been a common goal of Meister’s and Verdane’s to turn Meister into a big European challenger of the large U.S. companies dominating the productivity SaaS market.”
It’s worth noting that Meister’s raise also comes at a time when tech talent from some of the world’s biggest technology companies are reportedly jumping ship for smaller companies that are trying to address the ramshackle hybrid work arrangements that have emerged from the pandemic. Remote work, it seems, is changing everything.
Meister currently has a headcount of around 100 employees working in Vienna, Munich (Germany), and Seattle, with plans to expand to more than 500.
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