A group of former Lotus standouts, led by star programmer Julio Estrada, is making its own bid to take collaboration mainstream.
Estrada, a 10-year veteran at Lotus, is known as the brains behind that company's QuickPlace collaboration software. He was also lead architect for Domino Web Server, which took Lotus Notes from a proprietary offering to the world of Web standards.
In July 2001, Estrada started working on something new and founded Kubi, based here. The company's goal is to "combine the power of collaborative functionality with the familiarity and ease of use of e-mail," according to a statement.
Those words are reminiscent of the game plan espoused three years ago by Groove Networks, a Boston-area startup founded by Ray Ozzie, the programmer behind Lotus Notes.
"It's fair to say the goals [of Groove and Kubi] might be aligned, but the approach is different," said Kubi President John Shagoury, who has held executive positions at Lotus, Corporate Software and Dragon Systems, which was later acquired by Lernout & Hauspie. "Collaboration has been a big category for some time, but no one has crossed the bridge into the mainstream yet."
Shagoury declined to comment further on product plans, more of which will be disclosed at Demo 2003 next month.
Kubi has received more than $8 million in funding from Lazard Technology Partners and Venture Investment Management company. The board of directors includes Deb Besemer, president of BrassRing, and John Landry, CEO of Adesso Systems (formerly ThinkingBytes). Landry and Besemer are also Lotus alumni.