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NSW start-up TiimFocus warns Facebook co-founder: We’re coming for you

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

A tech start-up based in Wollongong is taking aim at task management venture Asana, which was created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, after raising $800,000 from angel investors.


TiimFocus, founded in 2009 by Kevin Withnall and Jason Weaver, aims to improve workflow management between teams, allowing organisations to keep track of tasks and assignments.


Withnall, who began developing the product two years ago, initially created the product for his 12-person development company.


“We created TiimFocus because we didn’t see a product fulfilling the need in the market,” he says.


In a bid to become “the world’s most complete collaborative task system”, TiimFocus has raised $800,000 from three angel investors, whose names will remain undisclosed.


“Kevin… has contacts in the superannuation investment field and was able to access them. We pitched our idea to these guys and they thought it was a good enough idea to back, so we managed to secure an initial $500,000,” says Weaver.


“Since then we’ve secured another $300,000 [from the same investors]. We’re in a position now where we need to get another $500,000 to really help with the marketing push.


Blackbird [Ventures] launched a week or two ago, so they’re somebody we would probably contact.


“It’s very difficult [to secure funds] in the Australian market… We certainly haven’t ruled out going to the US, but our preference is to keep it in Australia if we can.


“We think this idea – the idea with the workflow – hasn’t actually been done. I’ve been in business and I’ve run many successful teams myself, and I’ve never been able to get this right.”


TiimFocus has compared itself to Asana, the start-up founded by Dustin Moskovitz, who, after sharing a dorm with Mark Zuckerberg, became one of the founders of Facebook.


Like TiimFocus, Asana keeps teams in sync. It has already raised more than $10 million from investors including Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.


However, TiimFocus is confident it can compete in the marketplace.


“The largest player in the market is Asana… However, its greatest strength – an easy-to-use product – is also its largest weakness; minimal functionality,” says Withnall.


“We outgrew Asana within a month. TiimFocus was built to be the world’s most complete collaborative task system. Companies will not be able to outgrow TiimFocus.”


TiimFocus provides team members with one central location where they can see what peers are working on and can receive updates on how a project is progressing.


The B2B software is designed to evolve as an organisation grows.


“We believe the beauty of this marketplace, particularly as more attention is focused on B2B companies, is that the best product can win,” says Weaver.


“Despite the pedigree of Asana and other competitors, we spent two years building and validating TiimFocus, and we, and our clients, believe this is the best product in the market.”