Passageways integrates with Zoom, offers free access to nonprofits and governments
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of our nation’s businesses into a work-from-home posture, secure collaboration software provider Passageways reached out to let me know that they would be allowing nonprofits and government bodies free access to their OnBoard virtual meeting platform. What seemed like a nice gesture, at first, became a much bigger deal last week than I initially realized. Passageways announced that the offer was global; that its offer is for free, unrestricted access through August 31; and that participating organizations will receive a complimentary Zoom Pro license to take advantage of the newly integrated video conferencing software.
“These are unprecedented times where lives and livelihoods are being lost to this pandemic,” said Paroon Chadha, co-founder and CEO of Passageways. “Losing a little bit of momentum ourselves isn’t the worst thing in the world if we can come together as a company to enable nonprofits and governments to do their best work on behalf of their communities when they are so desperately needed.”
Paroon’s comments echo the company’s founding vision statement: We inspire and enable teams to do their best work together effortlessly in a digital world. More than 100 nonprofits and government entities across the nation and overseas have already signed up for the free access offer. During the month of March alone, OnBoard was used to facilitate over 2,700 all-virtual board meetings—many for the very first time.
“Now more than ever these teams need a virtual meeting platform to overcome the uncertainty brought by COVID-19,” said Paroon. “These frontline organizations need to navigate this crisis and make thoughtful, far-reaching, governance decisions. That’s why we’re launching this program, because our products can help organizations stay efficient and secure in these unprecedented times. Because we’re in this together.”
While Passageways helps remote teams stay connected by integrating with many different video conferencing platforms like GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Skype, the Zoom integration is new and native, so it prevents users from having to leave the OnBoard application to collaborate face-to-face over video. It was a decision the product development team pushed for as a focus at the beginning of the crisis because they recognized the popularity of Zoom among their tech peers and across early adopter industries like education.
Learn more about the OnBoard free access offer and explore other resources like remote leadership advice by visiting the company’s COVID-19 Resource Center.
According to Passageways’ VP of Sales Paul Lockhart, many organizations that tried a virtual board meeting for the first time last month quickly discovered that video conferencing alone doesn’t provide all the tools needed for effective governance and productive collaboration.
“Zoom and other video conferencing tools are powerful, but they simply aren’t enough, not nearly enough to replace the experience of having everyone face-to-face in the same room together,” Paul said. “You would need six or seven other tools and everyone else would have to have the same ones in order keep people engaged, encourage participation, execute contracts, review and markup documents, conduct surveys, vote and more. They also weren’t able to easily ‘talk’ to each other, making it that much more difficult to keep everything in the right context when trying to make a critical decision. That’s what we’re offering with free access to OnBoard: everything integrated into our singular platform.”
Passageways has two primary business divisions—OnBoard board management and OnSemble employee intranet. While both divisions have been steadily growing, OnBoard has experienced a more meteoric rise over the past few years as organizations globally have sought to reduce costs and increase efficiency in order to combat market uncertainty.
The OnSemble team has also made some significant headway as of late. It recently unveiled FastTrack Employee Intranet, an out-of-the-box solution that can launch an intranet in two weeks or less (anywhere from two to four months is the industry benchmark). In addition, it has OnSemble Cloud access free for government and healthcare organizations through July 31, 2020.
TechPoint Index subscribers will be familiar with Passageways from our feature story about the fast-growing tech firm last summer. As of last July the company had more than 1,500 customers and was gaining 40-50 more per month, and employed just over 100 people at its three locations in Lafayette, IN, Indianapolis, and London, along with a handful of employees who worked remotely and internationally. Today, Passageways has 1,650+ customers and 120 employees.
On January 30, Passageways announced its second round of investment led by Five Elms, a private equity firm based in Kansas City, Mo., and Saratoga Financial totaling $5 million. The first round was also $5 million in late 2018. According to Paroon, funds will be deployed to support the continued development and growth of both the OnBoard and OnSemble product lines, and he expects to hire another 50 people throughout 2020 and into 2021.
Two recent high-profile additions to Passageways include Tom Millay and Adarsh Mantravadi. Millay, who is a well-known tech leader in the Indianapolis community, is serving as general manager for the OnSemble product line. Mantravadi served as a senior director of policy and research for Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, where he spearheaded the creation of the Next Level Fund, the state’s $250M private equity and venture capital investment vehicle. He is leading a new OnBoard practice group dedicated to serving the public sector as director of business development and government strategy.