Cape Town-based room.sh recently launched its free-to-use open beta program for its one-click connect meeting platform that combines collaborative tools, such as shared digital whiteboards, documents and code editors, with traditional video conferencing capabilities.
According to Matthew Henshall, CEO of room.sh, “It’s a bit hard to explain without trying it out, but try to think of it as Zoom meets Google Docs.”
Henshall launched the platform after personal frustrations with meetings, citing a research showing that organisations collectively waste 15% of employee time in meetings.
“No-one likes meetings, but they are incredibly important to run a business effectively, especially when everyone can’t be in the same place at the same time,” he said. “So we found it strange that, in the last 25 years of innovation with the Internet, the best we’ve managed to come up with is video calls as a replacement for telephone calls!”
Prior to building room.sh, the four co-founders built SkillupTutors, once one of the largest, and fastest growing, tutoring marketplace in Africa which got backing from KNF Ventures.
“While we were growing SkillUp, we realised that taking lessons online was a growing trend with our users. Tutors on our platform were using a mix of existing tools like Skype and Google Docs to conduct lessons, but there was still too much friction. We wanted to create a more seamless experience for them to conduct online lessons. We tried some off the shelf software, but we didn’t find anything that had the power and flexibility that we were really looking for. Given our team’s strong software development background, we eventually decided to build our own solution from the ground up,” he said.
During the development process, the team realised the potential for this tool to be used for online meetings and therefore spun out the core software, room.sh, into a standalone product.
With over 10 000 hours of use, largely in education (on SkillUp and similar platforms) and internal company meetings of early private beta users, room.sh is available for individuals, teams or companies. The firm will announce prices when the product launches out of beta.