Executives at some of the world’s largest technology firms are leaving prime jobs to join startups that build communications and collaboration tools, a market expected to skyrocket as more businesses settle into hybrid work arrangements. From a report: Raymond Endres, Facebook’s former top engineer for its Messenger app, left the company last month to oversee technology at Airtable, which makes cloud-based spreadsheet collaboration software. His initial focus will be on prepping the San Francisco-based startup to meet an expected surge in enterprise demand. That means ramping up investing in new product features and infrastructure in the year ahead, while tripling the size of his engineering team to roughly 300 workers, he said.
[…] Sarah Cannon, a partner at Index Ventures, said she knows of at least a dozen recent communication and collaboration startups founded or led by former top people at big tech firms. Many high-level developers and engineers have been building these kinds of apps inside large companies for years, she said, and Covid-19’s impact on conventional workplaces is now prompting them to strike out on their own. On the funding side, she said, investors have grown less skeptical of productivity, communications and collaboration tools, which many companies in the past were reluctant to adopt at scale. Spending in the global collaboration and enterprise social software market is forecast to reach $4.5 billion this year, a 17.1% increase from 2020, according to the latest forecast by information-technology research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. It expects to see double-digit gains into 2022. As the pandemic wanes, an estimated 60% of global companies are developing a permanent hybrid workplace model, Gartner has said, where most employees come into the office no more than three days a week. Gartner estimates that more than 1.1 billion workers around the world worked remotely last year, up from 350 million in 2019.