Zive, a productivity startup taking on Office 365, raises $2.2M


Zive Inc. is a small startup with a big dream: to take on Microsoft Corp. on its home turf.

The team’s mission is supported by $2.2 million in seed funding from New York Angels, Blue Tree Allied Angels and Keiretsu Capital Fund that was made public today. The money will go toward fueling the adoption of Zive’s flagship offering, Kiwi, a desktop client for G Suite that aims to replicate the experience provided by Office 365.

Kiwi sets itself apart from the browser-based version by eliminating many of the small interruptions that users of Alphabet Inc.’s productivity toolkit experience on a day-to-day-basis. At the top of the list is switching between apps, which requires opening the desired service in a new tab when using the web edition. Zive eliminates the hassle with a toolbar that provides the ability to quickly bring up Gmail, Google Drive and the other tools in G Suite from a central location.

Kiwi opens each document in a separate window to help users quickly toggle between files, while making Gmail accessible through a feature-rich overlay. One of its most distinguishing functions is the Zen Switch, an email-centric twist on the “Do not disturb” option in Android that provides the ability to turn off message notifications with a single click.

Users with more fine-grained requirements can configure Kiwi to let notifications pass through in case they contain a certain keyword or come from an important contact. The feature is particularly handy when Kiwi is set to aggregate emails from multiple accounts, which is facilitated by a toolbar similar to the one provided for switching between G Suite apps.

Originally designed for Mac, Kiwi arrived on Windows two weeks ago. Zive will use today’s funding to further expand its reach with a particular focus on enterprise users, who are generally more likely to pay for software than consumers. The startup can be expected to add more business-grade features as part of this push to help its app compete with Office 365, which dominates the enterprise market.

Image: Zive