When I first started working remotely, I gained flexibility over my diet and lifestyle, I saved money and time, and I stopped spending 3 hours commuting each day.
Why, then, did I feel so bad?
Initially, I felt bad because getting a hold of people was harder. I would send a message, then wait for anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple hours for a response. When they did respond, we would end up going back and forth, before finally agreeing to schedule a call for tomorrow. Why, I thought, do we use byte-sized messages to communicate in the gigabit internet era?
After a couple weeks, I realized I wasn't just frustrated with friction in communication. What I was experiencing, and what many are experiencing today, was loneliness. I rarely actually spoke to people during my work day; my mood and my productivity were therefore declining.
Remote work has been the ultimate work perk; today, it's the ultimate work necessity. But something has to change to make remote workers feel more connected with less friction.
Today, my co-founder Vivek and I are thrilled to introduce Pragli, a virtual office for remote teams. Note: this post actually consists of 3 announcements, in bold for clarity.
Pragli takes the best parts of an office and moves them online, enabling teams to communicate faster with less friction and more clarity while building culture and closeness.
Pragli has two main functions.
First, teammates form a team in Pragli, where everyone builds an avatar to broadcast personality and availability to teammates. Pragli’s highly customizable avatars create a sense of connectedness and teamwork online without encroaching on the privacy of each user.
Then, Pragli facilitates lightning-fast audio/video/screen share communication. Click on someone to start a direct conversation (the other party must unmute themselves to accept), or jump into a channel, the virtual equivalent of a conference room. Send out a link to involve guests who aren't part of your Pragli team.
Pragli works great alongside Slack, Teams, e-mail, and other text tools. Use Pragli when the other side is available, and fallback on asynchronous text communication when they aren't. It also integrates with your calendar, Slack, and even your Spotify.
Vivek and I intended to launch under different global circumstances. We also planned to introduce pricing when we launched so that we could finally stop spending our own money on bills for Pragli. Each conversation results in a per user per minute cost incurred by Pragli.
However, Pragli's usage has increased 20x since the beginning of COVID-19, and Pragli is already used in beta by thousands of teams at companies like VMware, Facebook, Asana, and many others. With the enormous disruption COVID-19 is having on the world, we wanted to find a way to help forced-remote teams as much as possible without being grossly financially irresponsible.
We are excited to announce that Pragli will remain entirely free until June 1, 2020, and will continue offering a free tier beyond then for the foreseeable future.
Update 5/27: Pragli free tier is extended until at least August 1, and may be extended further.
We are also excited to announce that Pragli has raised a pre-seed round led by Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures. Manu isn't just enabling us to stay free and help out a massive number of remote teams - in just a few short weeks, he has already made our company and product stronger. We could not be more excited to partner with him.
Thank you to our partners, especially at Agora and Firebase, for making this launch possible.
Thank you to our users who have been helping us test Pragli during the beta. You've been an instrumental part of making Pragli what it is today. We're just getting started, and we can't wait for what's next.
For everyone else - it's live & free, try it out at https://pragli.com/.