Tandem, a startup that builds business communication tools, has released a new product called Spaces, hoping to combine telecommuting and in-office work so that all employees feel good about being connected to their colleagues. The release of Spaces comes at a time when many companies are working on a return to the office, and the question is how to lead a team working from different locations.
In 2019, Tandem became the most popular company to come out of Y Combinator. At the time, gaming-updates noted that the company “developed communication software for remote teams after running crypto” at work. Before the start of the pandemic, it reached $7.5 million.
Talk about the right place and the right time, right? Tandem CEO and co-founder Rajeev Iyengar recently told gaming-updates that things have changed at his startup with the advent of COVID-19 and the massive move to work from home. The CEO said his company has grown nearly 30 times in just a few weeks.
I went on a tour of the current Tandem software to get an idea of the new service. All in all, Tandem is an app that allows teams to communicate, keep track of their meetings, and get together in chats.
You have used the appropriate software. I would say that the layout of Tandem is quite user-friendly, which means that it has a user interface that is easy to get to grips with. It also has some nice extras like username icons so you can see what software your colleagues are using at any given time. If you see a developer using the IDE, you must be waiting for him to ping, right?
But where Tandem wants to expand its suite of computer-to-computer communications software is Space. Essentially, the service works with video-ready equipment in office spaces such as conference rooms and common areas, allowing remote workers to connect, listen, or actively participate in different parts of the office.
In one demo, I was escorted through Tandem Office in real time, taken to meetings, and generally harassed for a while. We used to meet on TV in conference rooms and I think it was kind of like a lounge area.
At this point, I need to set up the actual remote work. Since my early days of college, I’ve been a flasher remote worker. My first journalistic job was with a company on another continent. During the years that I worked there, I have never been in the office. At gaming-updates, I’ve worked both remotely and in real life, and my last gig was more in-person than in-person. So when it comes to scaling meetings, managing by phone, and generally using each piece of software over time, I’m aware of the benefits and challenges that remote work brings.
With that in mind, I love what Tandem has done. It works with a range of hardware options, including low-end laptops, allowing even more budget-conscious teams to use the service. You don’t need to buy a huge machine to bridge the gap between employees in the office and those who are far away. Sure, having a big screen with a good camera and microphone will improve the space, but you can use a cheap laptop if you’re on a budget.
When you select a specific “room” in the office on the app, you can choose to connect without sound or with video and audio, depending on your needs. Does it look scary in practice when it appears on the screen in the office? Not really, because outside employees listen in on telephone conversations in the office, and not at the homes of colleagues.
This service began April 4th. Of course, we asked the company how the release is going. It’s “too early to share the numbers,” Iyengar said, but the CEO emailed several positive customer reviews that he said were “really” disclosed. Both reviews emphasized the importance of connecting with the community, which could sound like music to Tandem’s ears.
Tandem is a SaaS startup, which means that its customers subscribe to its services on an ongoing basis. Regular Tandem costs $8 per user per month, more for business features. Spaces, on the other hand, cost $50 or more per company per month, again for enterprise-grade equipment.
Iyengar said there are about 800 companies using Tandem today, but we haven’t been able to go deep enough to get the number of customers. (Startup has a free tier, as do many self-service products in today’s software world.)
The space could help Tandem increase revenue from its existing customers, or perhaps attract new customers. Either way, it’s a good time.
Next, we wonder how much the new product helps the tandem grow; It hasn’t raised any capital since the round at the end of 2019, according to Crunchbase data, meaning it’s gearing up for it. If Spaces does well, sooner or later we will hear from the company.