Hopes are High for 'Workplace Facebook'

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Initially, Wunderlist was only meant to test the waters. It was intended as a project to help the team determine the best way to develop cross-platform software and learn the ropes of how app stores work.

Wunderlist is relatively simple, allowing users to create lists and share them with friends and colleagues and sync them to the cloud so that they can be retrieved on any smartphone or computer. The influential Lifehacker blog describes it as "simple" and "elegant."

Even though it would eventually grow into a successful product, co-founder and designer Jan Martin says the company deliberately held back in development, saving the best for Wunderkit, which he and colleagues describe as a sort of "Facebook for work" that will enable colleagues from all over the world to exchange information on projects they are working on.

The as yet unreleased app has generated considerable buzz in the Berlin start-up scene, even attracting a round of funding from Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström's London-based venture capital firm Atomico, which announced a €3.1 million investment in 6Wunderkinder late last year.

"6Wunderkinder have developed a fantastic product that can be used around the world," the Swedish Skype co-founder recently told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. "And they are a team that works together very well."

A Pivotal Year

Other sources of funding include T-Venture, the corporate venture arm of Deutsche Telekom, and the High-Tech Gründerfonds, a mixed private-public initiative of the German government and major companies that invests in young start-up firms.

And 2012 promises to be a pivotal year for the company. After months of development and hard work, Wunderkit was finally released into private beta this week, with a select few being given early access to what is still a work in progress.

The company has described Wunderkit as a "blend of a social network and online working space for the individual," a productivity application which has carried forward the sleek and user-friendly characteristics of Wunderlist. It allows users to create workspaces for different collaborative projects -- work-related, perhaps, or maybe for a sports team or a planned trip -- which can be shared with friends and family, and kept private or made public.

Within the workspaces, there are dashboards, notes and tasks, to keep track of what you need to do. It has many of the functions you would find in a social network or a to-do list application, and 6Wunderkinder is hoping it will prove even more popular than its older brother. It is due to go into open beta on February 1.

"It's a little bit Facebook, a little bit Twitter and a totally new way to do productivity and to work," Reber says. "If Wunderlist was the iPod, then Wunderkit will be the iPhone." And when it comes to Apple analogies, Reber is anything but modest. "We really want to create the next Apple," he says.

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