Hoist is an on demand project collaboration tool joining the long list of business productivity services such as Basecamp. It was launched in private beta at Reboot conference held last week, where I fortunately managed to get a short demo. There’s not too much information found on the site so the best way to find out more is indeed to book a demo meeting, get lucky requesting a test account, or simply wait them to go public later this fall.
Unlike many other services, Hoist is a premium service with a monthly fee based on the number of users instead of number of projects and storage space. Both the number of projects and storage space are unlimited with Hoist.
The service is based on Drupal framework, and as a proper SaaS product it works with all browsers. There’s mobile solution coming soon and I was told that even offline functionality is on the drawing board.
A Hoist project is called a space which is used to work and communicate with people where ever they are. A space consists of one or several apps that can be as simple as to rate an idea or to post an event. One can also create its own apps which then can be submitted to the library of apps. The apps can be reused and modified to suit one’s needs and new projects.
To quote Anders Pollas: “We want to empower people to work however they like. It should be just as easy (and without further consequences) to set up a three person space for a one week project, as it should be to create a network space with several hundred people from a organization.”
The company itself was founded early 2007 by Jon Froda and Anders Pollas. They both had been previously working as consultants and kept running into same scenario each time – the customer needed a wiki, a blog, easy communication tools and so forth. They simply got tired of that and created their own service, resulting in their first product in June the same year. Last Christmas they received funding, and have since then been busy developing the new Hoist, also adding one new member to the crew. The company has paying customers today but is yet to be profitable.
Will it float
For me Hoist seems like a playground with a filled toolbox letting one create just the things one really needs for work. How well that works out needs first hand experience, although the first twitter reports from the workshops held during the private beta launch read positive.
The Hoist’s market space is very competive and crowded with both free and freemium services and applications. That’s also when one needs to bring something unique to the market to have a chance. In addition to make life easier by saving money and time, that is. I personally find the idea of being able to create my own tools to work and collaborate compelling. If they manage to avoid the overhead, keep the UI simple and make the service transportable, I think they can stand the competition.
I’m certainly interested to see where Hoist is headed when they’re ready to hoist the sail.