Startup ClickUp Launches Whiteboard to Develop WFH Analytics


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In the post-pandemic future of working everywhere, will our desktops, tablets and phones become de facto reporters of how well we are doing our jobs? We’re a long way from getting there, but the staggered nature of how work is done here in 2022 may beg for closer and more automated workforce monitoring, which some executives will no doubt want to explore. That intelligent surveillance will certainly make extensive use of AI and ML.

Perhaps one of the first tools to leverage some of this functionality is the San Diego, California-based ClickUp, which creates a customizable, SaaS-based workplace productivity platform that serves all departments in an organization. ClickUp’s API allows any work application to be downloaded to it, allowing teams from different corners of an enterprise to use them on projects together.

The news from ClickUp today is the general availability of its new Whiteboards feature in the platform, something the founder says sets it apart from competitors like Slack, Wrike, Hubspot, and Asana.

It’s the kind of versatile tool—and potential portable supervisor—that WFH employees can take anywhere on a tablet, phone, or laptop. ClickUp claims its Whiteboard is the only collaboration tool that allows all teams to turn real-time ideas directly into projects that integrate with their work.

“As teams move to remote or hybrid work environments, whiteboards play a vital role when it comes to collaboration,” said CEO and founder Zeb Evans. “The rise of collaborative whiteboard solutions has filled the void for how distributed teams brainstorm and generate ideas. With the global interactive whiteboard market expected to reach $2.31 billion by 2025, it is clear how popular these tools are.”

How analytics are used for WFH professionals

While the platform isn’t quite ready yet, Evans told VentureBeat, ClickUp developers are working on the AI/ML-based feature that would ostensibly be valuable to management: analytics that track how often the device is used for work and what type of work being done. The quality of work is currently strictly for people to judge.

“I’d say we can show you on the surface what work you spend the most time on, over a period of time,” Evans told VentureBeat. “So you can go to everyone’s profile and you can see what we call trending tasks that use machine learning algorithms to know where you spend the most time at work.

“In a few months we will have news about how this is developing. It will be more like AI/machine learning functionality that can predict when work will be delayed and estimate how long a project will take over time. The value of using machine learning for things like being able to track productivity or measure productivity – we’re not there yet. But I think that’s the overall promise of where we want to get from a platform perspective,” Evans said.

Value of the virtual whiteboard

Unable to huddle around a physical whiteboard with a colorful set of EXPO dry-erase markers, teams are turning to virtual whiteboards, which have become popular during the pandemic, Evans said. These can be used for brainstorming, content creation, work automation, communication, project management and everything in between, he said.

“Teams would brainstorm, share ideas, and map out projects — but often these ideas and plans never made it past the virtual whiteboard,” Evans said. “The reason these ideas usually don’t get implemented is that they require a whole host of other tools that are disconnected not only from the virtual whiteboard, but also from each other. It’s no wonder employees are frustrated.”

Key Features in Whiteboard

ClickUp whiteboard includes:

Editing Tools: Users add content to whiteboards in a variety of ways, from drawing to text, shapes, notes, and even the ability to embed images and other media files.

Real-time collaboration: Users collaborate with teams from anywhere, see their edits in real-time, and track cursor movements for seamless interactions.

Tasks in Whiteboard: Users can easily add existing ClickUp tasks to whiteboards, find links between tasks, documents and all other work, and create new tasks directly from Whiteboards and have them immediately added to their boards for execution.

Share: Users can share a whiteboard with anyone in the entire organization.

ClickUp Docs accepts any brand of document

ClickUp Docs, a key feature that has also been updated, can natively connect all the documents used in any project in one platform, Evans said. This includes Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Open Office Documents, and others. Some of the 50 new features include:

Documents as knowledge bases: Users can view and work with projects and tasks directly in documents and use them to organize all work by placing them directly in the Spaces sidebar.

Quick access and sidebar menu: A new area in documents that provides easy access to every feature in a document, including adjustment layers and interactive features such as typography, cover images, header sections, statistics, and page security.

Focus Mode: Automatically blurs all distractions and focuses visually on important sections, paragraphs, or sentences in a document.

Relationships: Now you can see everything related to a document, including related tasks, collaborators, or other pages, all in one place within a document.

The ClickUp Company Story

ClickUp’s business story is remarkable. The four-year-old startup jumped from a $4 million run rate in 2019 to a $70 million (2021) run rate in just 24 months. VP of Operations Aaron Cort put it this way: a highly successful combination of product-driven growth and organic marketing.

“It starts with the product experience — that was the #1 thing,” Cort said. “The founders were just obsessed with it; they would release new features every week for a long time, and that was what allowed us to get to grips with a very crowded market in a short amount of time. †

Last fall, the company landed a $400 million Series C investment, giving it a valuation of $4 billion. The funding round was co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

Culture of new ideas

ClickUp came out of nowhere to capture market share from bigger, more well-known companies. Wrike, Hubspot,, Microsoft To Do, Google Tasks, Evernote, and Asana are just some of the heavyweights competing in this space. Apparently some of them were ripe to catch up.

“The platforms didn’t change,” Cort said. “I won’t name any competitors, but there were many that had been around for over ten years and didn’t move much. We are focused on developing the product, and everything else was layered around it.”

ClickUp sells a $5 per month/per user subscription, which is billed annually and gives users access to task management software, documents and wikis, chat, and integrations with many other popular tools.

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