From Basecamp to Microsoft Teams, here are 16 answers to the question, “What are the most helpful team collaboration tools (free/cheap) that you use at your startup, and why?”


  • Basecamp
  • Google Suite
  • Airtable
  • Discord
  • Trello 
  • Milanote
  • Google Now
  • Flock
  • Buffer
  • Monday.com
  • Fleep
  • Hootsuite
  • Slack
  • Twist
  • Asana
  • Microsoft Teams

Basecamp

We have been using the free version of Basecamp for years now. It works great and is super easy to use. There is an upgraded version with more features that costs around $15 a month. 

With Basecamp, you create a project and then assign tasks to certain people with deadlines for those tasks. You get notified when you don’t complete a task on time or when someone else posts to the project. You can upload all the files for the project so they are easily accessible to everyone in the project. 

When you are a startup, budget is a huge factor. Basecamp is free or as little as $15 per person. It’s a great collaboration option for a startup with a limited budget.

Evan McCarthy, President and CEO, Sporting Smiles

Google Suite

In my opinion, Google’s suite of tools is the most extensively adopted and easily accessible platform for teamwork. You can access widely-used and widely-understood apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and Mail for no cost. 

Documents and Excel files/tables can be created, stored in the cloud, shared, viewed, or edited by others, and made readily available at all times using Docs and Sheets. All you need is access to the web. The calendar can be shared with your team members and customized to their needs; you can even choose to be notified of particularly important events through email. 

You can rest assured that none of your work-related files or projects will be lost thanks to the Google suite’s user-friendliness and cloud storage capabilities.


Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

Airtable

At our startup, we use Airtable for free/cheap team collaboration. It provides various features allowing us to organize and share data quickly and easily. Airtable has an intuitive interface that allows us to create dynamic databases, track tasks, manage calendars, collaborate with colleagues in real-time, and more. 

The ability to customize the platform keeps us organized by letting us create specific views of our data through Kanban boards or Gantt charts that can be accessed anytime from anywhere. 

On top of this customization feature are user-friendly sorting options such as grouping items together and meaningful summary fields right at the top for quick access. The search bar within Airtable makes finding relevant information easy by allowing users to filter results based on tags or labels associated with each record.


Gosia Hytry, Head of Content, Spacelift

Discord

My startup uses Discord as a free and reliable team collaboration tool. Discord is an online communication platform, originally created for gamers; however, its applicability extends to the workplace with its suite of easy-to-use text, voice, and video calling capabilities.

As our operations are entirely digital, Discord offers us a convenient way to stay connected without the need for a cumbersome setup or complicated software—plus, it’s absolutely free! We use it several times throughout the day to share updates, files, reports, and other important information quickly without any major lag time in communication. It’s also very secure, which is key when sharing confidential data across many users.


Carly Hill, Operations Manager, VirtualHolidayParty.com

Trello 

Trello uses a visual project management platform to help teams organize and prioritize tasks, projects, and ideas in a clear and easy-to-use way. With its card and board system, teams have a clear overview of the progress and status of each task, and they can easily track what needs to be done, who is responsible for it, and when it’s due. 

This helps keep everyone on the same page and ensures that projects are moving forward as planned. Trello’s mobile app allows teams to stay on top of their work and collaborate from anywhere, which is particularly important for startups that are constantly on the go. 

With its integration with other tools like Google Drive and Slack, teams can keep all their work in one place, making it easier to stay organized and focused on what’s important. Trello is also highly customizable, with a wide range of features and options to choose from. This makes it a good choice for startups that need a flexible solution that can grow with them as their needs change.

Dejan Kvrgic, Founder, ProContent Services

Milanote

Milanote is the best collaboration tool for startups because it offers features you normally pay for on its free plan. You can share unlimited boards, talk to your team members, and attach up to 100 images. 

But what stood out was that Milanote allows you to organize projects and ideas on visual boards. Unlike other collaboration tools marketed to all businesses, Milanote is designed around startups. It thrives during the early stages of projects, from mapping out ideas to writing project briefs.

Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money

Google Now

One powerful yet cost-effective team collaboration tool I have used is Google Now, a virtual personal assistant. It assists with organizing meetings, retrieving data from specific documents, setting reminders, and more. 

It saves the entire team time in the long run by taking on tedious tasks without requiring any setup or additional cost.

By being integrated into Android devices and laptops, this uncommon yet effective tool allows for the rapid sharing of documents amongst teammates for efficient collaboration.

Michael Alexis, CEO, tiny campfire

Flock

Flock’s free version offers unlimited 1-1 and group messages, video calls, and 10 public channels. It is a nifty little cross-collaboration and team messaging tool with a Slack-like interface. 

One of our favorite features is that Flock presents all new messages you are tagged in once you return from a break. Meaning, no need to dig deep into older messages to retrieve important information. Mobile users can now record and send audio messages with Voice Notes. 

Flock also packs all the standard and not-so-standard task management capabilities you are used to elsewhere. That includes to-do lists with user tagging, task prioritization, task assignments, shared to-dos with automated alerts, custom reminders, due dates, and more.

Jon Torres, CEO, Jon Torres

Buffer

In my opinion, social media has evolved into a potent advertising medium, and a company without a significant online profile is basically irrelevant in the modern era.

Buffer is a group collaboration application for scheduling postings on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Users can manage up to three social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) and 10 scheduled posts (at no cost). 

However, regardless of size or sector, all brands should take advantage of social media for marketing purposes, and Buffer’s free account is the greatest place to start.

Kyle Bassett, Chief Operating Officer, Altitude Control

Monday.com

Since Monday.com is primarily a tool for project management, it emphasizes both communication and planning equally. As a result, it serves as an unrivaled resource for businesses that are project-driven, whether they are in the travel, design, or marketing sectors. 

Because of its traffic-light system, you can see at a glance what each team member is working on. This feature is useful for reporting and dashboarding project progress. The tourism sector is a perfect fit for Monday.com’s features since it combines both creative sectors and businesses with distinctive customer demands. 

The platform’s extensive tool library is great for customization and is made to provide a high-quality visual of projects so that team members can readily grasp one another’s activities. This includes real-time collaborative tools like Kanban boards and Gantt charts, which are excellent for brainstorming sessions. Any company that needs to simplify its operations should take the time to research Monday.

Aiden Higgins, Senior Editor and Writer, The Broke Backpacker

Fleep

At our startup, Fleep has become an invaluable resource for team collaboration. It’s affordable, easy to use, and has strong messaging and file-sharing capabilities that make collaborating on projects simple. 

Fleep also allows us to create task lists with mentions, deadlines, and checklists that help us keep track of our progress. I personally find Fleep’s stability to be its most attractive feature—it’s fast and rarely has any downtime—something necessary for a small business like ours where communication is always key. Fleep continues to provide us with the ability to stay connected at all times, no matter how far apart we may be.


Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer and Founder, Zen Soundproof

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is easily our go-to collaboration tool because it is reliable, easy to use, and most importantly for a bootstrapped team, incredibly affordable. Hootsuite allows us to stay on top of all our social media accounts, enabling us to monitor engagements in real time. 

It also provides simple scheduling tools so we can keep up with tight deadlines and make sure that our channels are always active. Hootsuite has really been a godsend—with its help, our company has been able to broaden its reach while maximizing the efficiency of our team.

Derek Bruce, First Aid Training Director, Skills Training Group

Slack

Slack is a great tool for team collaboration, as it allows us to easily share files, communicate via chat channels, and even make audio/video calls. It’s free to use for up to 10 members and has features such as role-based access control and custom notifications that help ensure our conversations are organized and secure. 

Plus, it integrates with many other popular tools and services, such as Dropbox and Google Calendar. We find it to be an invaluable tool for coordinating between our remote team members in various locations.

Matt Teifke, CEO, Teifke Real Estate

Twist

At our startup, Twist has been an invaluable resource for distributed collaboration. Twist keeps members of my team connected and up-to-date on the status of our projects, no matter where they are located. 

For example, Twist allows us to easily keep track of notes, tasks, and urgent items in dedicated channels, which helps ensure no one falls behind or overlooks an important detail. Twist also gives each team member their own space, meaning someone can access all the relevant messages with ease. 

The concise, threaded formatting allows us to reach decisions quickly while avoiding confusion and fostering better communication within the team. Furthermore, Twist is 100% free to use, so I highly recommend it to other startups looking for a powerful yet inexpensive collaboration tool!


Mark McShane, Founder, Manchester First Aid Course

Asana

To assist us with project and account management, we most recently added Asana. To date, it has reduced notification overload and assisted teams in time management. Additionally, it has given teams perspective and context on how individual activities may benefit the entire team and enable them to achieve their project goals. 

These boards effectively facilitate cross-team collaboration as we return to the workplace twice a week. I recommend it because it allows an unlimited number of assignees to work on each assignment. 

It works well with Kanban boards, an agile project management tool that lets you see the workflow and resolve any problems. Using dependencies and milestones, its timeline view enables you to coordinate your work while keeping an eye on each other’s goals.

Dayna Carlin, Director of Marketing and Sales, NovoPath

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has an excellent free plan for small businesses. This team collaboration tool integrates seamlessly with OneDrive and Office 365 Services and offers neat features such as the ability to record meetings with automatic transcriptions. 

On the free plan, you can have up to 300 users, 10GB of team file storage and 2GB per employee, and over 140 app and service integrations. Microsoft Teams also offers unlimited messages and channels, as well as audio and video meetings. It’s a great tool for startups that have a modest budget for collaboration tools.

Andrew Meyer, CEO, Arbor

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