Four-year-old startup Clubhouse has a bold new plan to take on Atlassian's mega-popular Jira with a new project management tool

ClubhouseClubhouse co-founders CEO Kurt Schrader and chief design officer Andrew Childs
  • Clubhouse, which was founded in 2014 and creates project management platforms for software teams, is announcing an enterprise edition.
  • Clubhouse originally only targeted small teams, but with the enterprise edition, it can support larger teams as well.
  • Clubhouse’s sees its biggest competitor as Atlassian’s Jira, which is widely used by large software development teams, and the company hopes that the users will turn to Clubhouse as another option.

When co-founder and CEO Kurt Schrader founded Clubhouse, he felt that developers needed a better tool to organise their work. Now, his startup is scaling to work with enterprise companies in an effort to better compete with the likes of Atlassian’s Jira.

“One of our biggest challenges is we’re kind of a David going against a Goliath,” Schrader told Business Insider.

Clubhouse launched its standard project management software in 2016, partly as a response Jira, Atlassian’s flagship software development project management platform. It started out targeting small teams, and on Tuesday, Clubhouse announced it would scale up to larger organisations with Clubhouse Enterprise Edition.

The four-year-old Clubhouse, which has $US16 million in funding, is currently used by more than 1,000 organisations, including Elastic, FullStory, Glossier, HireVue, and LaunchDarkly.

“Even as we build and add more features, we still keep simplicity front and center to ensure the tool is intuitive,” Mitch Wainer, CMO of Clubhouse, told Business Insider. “What’s unique about Clubhouse, and why I joined, is I felt the pain of using complex tools like Jira.”

Before its recent overhaul, Jira had a reputation for being clunky and having an outdated interface. And with other project management platforms, users typically have to use multiple tools or project views, making the process more complicated. On the other hand, Clubhouse has always focused on simplicity, Wainer says.

“Teams were unable to use Jira effectively,” Wainer said. “What happened is there was a fragmented world of collaboration.”

Atlassian has since responded to user concerns and completely redesigned the platform to fit with the needs of today’s agile teams.

“It’s definitely interesting that they recognised the flaws with what they built,” Schrader said.

But what makes Clubhouse different, Schrader says, is that the platform works especially well for small teams and can scale up as companies grow. Before, Clubhouse was only targeted at small teams, but once those teams grew bigger, they usually turned to Jira. Schrader hopes that the new enterprise edition will change this course.

“I think for us, it’s figuring out how to change the conversation,” Schrader said. “When a lot of organisations grow, they say we should use Jira now because it’s our only option. We’re changing that conversation.”

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