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Jam raises $3.5 million to Figma-tize product collaboration

By Lucas Matney

The web of collaboration apps invading remote work toolkits have led to plenty of messy workflows for teams that communicate in a language of desktop screenshots and DMs. Tracing a suggestion or flagging a bug in a company’s website forces engineers or designers to make sense of the mess themselves.  While task management software has given teams a funnel for the clutter, the folks at Jam question why this functionality isn’t just built straight into the product.

Jam co-founders Dani Grant and Mohd Irtefa tell TechCrunch they’ve closed on $3.5 million in seed funding and are ready to launch a public beta of their collaboration platform which builds chat, comments and task management directly onto a website, allowing developers and designers to track issues and make suggestions quickly and simply

The seed round was led by Union Square Ventures, where co-founder Dani Grant previously worked as an analyst. Version One Ventures, BoxGroup and Village Global also participated alongside some noteworthy angels including GitHub CTO Jason Warner, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, Gumroad CEO Sahil Lavingia, and former Robinhood VP Josh Elman.

Like most modern productivity suites, Jam is heavy on integrations so users aren’t forced to upend their toolkits just to add one more product into the mix. The platform supports Slack, Jira, GitHub, Asana, Loom and Figma, with a few more in the immediate pipeline. Data syncs from one platform to the other bidirectionally so information is always fresh, Grant says. It’s all built into a tidy sidebar.

Grant and Irtefa met as product managers at Cloudflare, where they started brainstorming better ways to communicate feedback in a way that felt like “leaving digital sticky notes all over a product,” Grant says. That thinking ultimately pushed the duo to leave their jobs this past May and start building Jam.

The startup, like so many conceived during this period, has a remote founding story. Grant and Irtefa have only spent four days together in-person since the company was started, they raised their seed round remotely and most of the employees have never met each other in-person.

The remote team hopes their software can help other remote teams declutter their workflows and focus on what they’re building.

“On a product team, the product is the first tab everyone opens and closes,” Grant says. “So we’re on top of your product instead of on some other platform”

Jam’s interface

Atlassian launches a $50M venture fund to invest in its ecosystem

By Frederic Lardinois

Atlassian today announced the launch of Atlassian Ventures, a new $50 million fund that will invest into startups — and even more established companies — that are building products in the overall Atlassian ecosystem.

“As more and more customers transition to our cloud products, we are committed to supporting their journey by fostering a robust ecosystem of cloud-based apps that enhance their experience and satisfy all use cases,” Chris Hecht, Atlassian’s head of Corporate Development, writes in today’s announcement. “We are incredibly proud of the 4,200+ apps already available in our Marketplace and the integrations we already offer with popular tools like Slack, Zendesk, and GitHub . But this is no time to rest on our laurels. Atlassian Ventures will facilitate our continued investment in the best-of-breed tools and integrations our customers need to fuel the next wave of innovation and manage their work, both now and into the future.”

The fund is taking a three-pronged approach. It will invest in early-stage startups that build products for the company’s cloud products. These include Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket and Trello .

But it will also invest in established companies that are working to scale their businesses. Given the size of the fund, it’s maybe no surprise that the firm will partner with other VCs to make these investments. Hecht cites Atlassian’s existing investments in Zoom, Slack, InVision, process.st and Split.io as examples for this.

In addition to these two groups, the fund will also invest into members of the Atlassian Partner Program that are “looking to augment their cloud services and/or create new products that support the future of work.”

In this context, it’s worth noting that Atlassian has recently acquired a few companies in its ecosystem, too, including Code Barrel (the company behind Automation for Jira), Mindville and Halp.

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