Chartcube, a new app gaining a lot of notoriety in the tech world lately, may have fixed a persistent problem which other vendors like SlideShare, SlideRocket and Prezi could not: making Excel and PowerPoint work for a mobile world.
B2B News Network, in a new regular column highlighting intriguing apps, explains what Chartcube is about, who is behind it, and how it can be a powerful tool for your B2B organization.
Alright stop, collaborate on data and listen!
Simply put, Chartcube makes data accessible and collaborative on mobile devices. Users can upload Microsoft Excel and CSV files, which have been formatted with pivot tables and charts, and the app will transform those charts into intuitive visual representations. Additional file formats will reportedly be added soon.
From there, other users can share, navigate and comment on these charts and data in real-time, and see metrics compared side-by-side. Options allow users to drill down, select which metrics or groupings appear, and reconfigure the format of numbers (percentages, averages, sums, etc.).
The app first launched on iPad in November 2014, and has just expanded to desktop and iPhone. Since its release, it has been downloaded more than 25,000 times. An Android version is expected to be released soon, followed by one for Windows Phone. Also expected shortly are features which have been requested by users, including a presentation mode designed for Apple AirPlay.
Chartcube’s founder, Pankaj Tibrewal, was formerly a consultant at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and was the COO of Pantaloons, a large clothing retailer in India. Co-founder Deepak Alur has experience with such startups as JackBe (acquired by Software AG) and Sun Microsystems. Other collaborators in Chartcube’s creation are reported to be alumni from eBay, Prezi, and Evernote.
There are two distinct aspects to Chartcube’s app which work in tandem: analysis and presentation. The platform combines animated charts and visualizations which, according to Ben Kepes, contributor to Forbes magazine, “have the feel of Prezi, the PowerPoint competitor that many people claim gives them motion sickness [and which is] probably guilty of focusing too much on slick animations.”
Competitors of Chartcube include Tableau, a company that makes data tools which are cloud-based, and the enterprise messaging app Slack, which makes file sharing easy, but does not allow users to create and edit charts.
It’s the analysis portion of the app that sets Chartcube apart, with a similarly robust ability for data manipulation that Excel offers. Think of how any B2B executive can take advantage of an app that presents data in such a robust way.
Additionally, the real-time commenting feature means that conversations can be contained without the lengthy email chains, complete with increasing attachments, which occur when more and more users have a hand in shaping data. According to Pankaj Tibrewal, the problem his app is attempting to solve is that “there is no good way to review, share, and discuss data on a mobile device.”
“We are targeting data collaborations,” he explains, “because we feel it is completely broken. At company after company, I saw the same problem. They use PowerPoint to tell a story, but then the connection with the data is not there anymore. Data now needs to be shared with more people to make it functional, with international teams and cross-functional teams. More collaborations are needed on a daily basis.”
Driving that data
One of the fundamental aspects of most B2B organizations is data collaboration and analysis. Tibrewal points out that Managers usually spend between 10 and 20 percent of their time making decisions that are data driven. With many small and mid-sized B2Bs operating on a tight budget, that time needs to be spent as efficiently as possible.
“[Managers] review data in Excel, share insights in PowerPoint, and discuss with their teams in email,” Tibrewal states. “These antiquated tools make it difficult for people to get on the same page and the result is a ‘Cycle of Indecision’. Chartcube helps by bringing together the data, the story and the discussion into one mobile app, so teams can make data-driven decisions with unprecedented efficiency and fun.”
Chartcube is backed by Shasta Ventures, a US-based venture capital company that does seed, early and later stage venture, and private equity investments within the software, enterprise software and mobile sectors. To date, Shasta Ventures has invested a total of $4.6 million into Chartcube in three rounds at the time of publication.
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