The established players in web conferencing better look out — scheduling startup TimeBridge is launching a new conferencing service that it says can save companies around 80 percent of what they would have paid for established products like Cisco‘s WebEx and Citrix‘s GoToMeeting.
The Berkeley, Calif. startup already has 300,000 users for its service, which is particularly useful because it integrates with existing calendar products like Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar and Apple iCal. Chief executive Yori Nelken says many TimeBridge customers are using the service to schedule web meetings already, so it makes sense to add conferencing to flesh out the product (and to create a revenue stream among the pay services). Almost 60 percent of TimeBridge users employ some kind of conferencing service, and of those, 21 percent use GoToMeeting and 14 percent use WebEx (an inversion of who most often seems like the big fish).
TimeBridge’s web meeting service costs $8.95 per month — less than WebEx and GoToMeeting, though more than the free offerings from Dimdim. Nelken says he can charge so little because the customer acquisition cost is so low. In other words, he doesn’t have to spend any money marketing the service, since it’s an obvious switch for existing TimeBridge users. I wasn’t able to try the service myself (oddly, Nelken briefed me over a TimeBridge conference call line, though we didn’t use the web meeting tool), but TimeBridge says it offers all the basic features you’d expect from a web conferencing service — screensharing, a white board and so on.
Nelken adds that this is the next step in building TimeBridge into a full collaboration service, rather than just a scheduling tool. In that vein, the company also launched a scheduling feature last month.