Book a Demo
Sign up for Free

Back to Top

17 Team Communication Apps for Startups

Hunter McKinley
December 9, 2021

As a manager, you know that team communication has never been more important. The pandemic forced teams physically apart; leaders had to fight to bring everyone virtually together and steady the ship.

Working society has learned a lot of lessons since the great social experiment of 2020. Crucially, we learned that we actually can work remotely effectively. With the right setup of digital tools, you can easily support communication and collaboration without the need to be in the same room.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the 17 best team communication apps, what their core features are, and what makes each one unique.

Let’s get started.

1. Yac

Yac

Yac is a team communication app that helps teams share complex information and updates without ever needing a meeting by using asynchronous voice messages and screen shares.  

Teams can share voice messages with a group or in a one-on-one with a colleague. Recording links can also be shared anywhere (even with people who don’t have Yac), such as in email, on social media, etc.

Yac is the perfect solution to issues like meeting overload and Zoom fatigue, because it enables asynchronous communication and collaboration. You can stop struggling to coordinate schedules while watching the usable time drain from your calendar (and your team’s calendars).

With an async communication like Yac, colleagues can respond to messages at a time that works best for them. They can also get the whole picture with a voice message or screen share instead of trying to work out intentions from an email or a Slack thread.

Because it’s centered around voice communication, teams can pick up on the nuances of conversation that are difficult to gauge in text-based communication. This puts a stop to endless clarification loops and miscommunication, and it helps to build relationships.

Core features

  • Asynchronous meetings: Set up meeting rooms and discussions for your team to hop in with text and voice messages when it works for their schedule.
  • Voice messaging: A team communication app needs to go beyond text. Audio messaging makes it easy to talk about tasks, ask questions, and build relationships without needing a face-to-face meeting or video call.
  • Screen sharing: Easily record your screen to demonstrate something for a team member. Annotate your screen to make a point and share your video with your team.
  • Group messaging: Create, separate, and organize group discussions with our team chat app. Easily create private teams as well to keep certain conversations separate from others.
  • Integrations: Integrate your Yac conversations with Slack or by creating a Zapier automation.

Pricing

Yac offers a completely free plan so you can immediately start sending voice messages and eliminating unnecessary meetings.

The Teams plan starts at just $3 per user per month (billed annually).

See plans.

Why people love it

Yac is here to change the way remote teams work, communicate, and hold meetings by enabling them to do it asynchronously. It’s an incredibly easy-to-use tool that helps your team make more time for what matters. People who love Yac share our belief that async communication and collaboration is the future.

2. Twist

Twist
Image source

Like Yac, Twist is another tool that’s taking part in the async movement. By integrating with a number of popular tools and keeping notifications to a minimum, Twist is hoping to be one of the top async tools.

Twist’s interface looks like something between text messages and email, but they actively encourage users not to expect an immediate reply. When you try to direct message (DM) someone, Twist gives you this message: 

"Don't expect an immediate response. Teams are more productive when everyone can disconnect to focus and respond when they're ready. Instead of saying 'You there?' just ask your full question and check back in later."

Twist doesn’t include audio or video calls like some of the other platforms in this list—and we think this is a good thing. It’s committed to its async promise. 

Core features

  • No notifications: We all hate that big red bubble, right? You won’t get that with Twist, allowing you to focus on deep work.
  • Inbox: Your inbox gathers all your threads together in one place so you can easily respond to any messages.
  • Threads: Keep conversations organized with searchable discussion threads. 

Pricing

Twist has a completely free plan for up to 500 members and 5 integrations. Their Unlimited plan is $5 per user per month and comes with unlimited message history, members, integrations, and more.

Why people love it

No one needs their work day to be constantly bombarded by notifications. People love Twist’s effort to decrease disruptions throughout the workday.

3. Discord

Discord
Image source

Known as a popular gaming chat app, Discord is becoming a go-to tool for building startup communities and helping teams improve communication.

Discord allows users to create private, invite-only servers that are dedicated to a specific team or topic. Create your own Discord server to keep all team communication in a single place, or start an online community for people interested in your industry or business.

One of the more unique features of Discord is that users create a single profile that they then use to access each of the servers that they’re a part of.

Core features

  • Private servers: Your Discord server is invite-only, giving you the power to add team members or community members.
  • Voice chat: Server members have access to an always available voice channel to have a quick discussion in real-time.
  • Moderation tools: Give certain members (moderators or managers) more access, assign roles, and create a well-maintained community.

Pricing

Discord’s main tool is completely free. However, they do offer a Nitro plan for users who want a more VIP experience. This plan is $99.99/year or $9.99/month and comes with upgraded emojis, larger file uploads, the ability to support a server, and more.

Why people love it

Discord isn’t a dry business tool—it wasn’t purpose-built for businesses at all. Many people prefer it as a way to create a unique online community that engages members and gets them discussing popular topics surrounding your industry.

4. Slack

Slack
Image source

Slack is one of the more well-known communication tools in the remote work space. It’s ideal for text-based team messaging, sending direct messages to coworkers, file sharing, and creating channels for specific projects and discussions.

It sports a simple two or three panel interface with channels and direct messages in alphabetical order along the left sidebar, a screen for sending messages, and the ability to create threads so conversations stay (somewhat) organized.

Slack has recently added a voice clips feature to their tool, but messages are limited to three minutes. You can, however, use integrations to send voice messages (like Yac’s Slack integration).

Core features

  • Channels: Slack’s main feature is its different channels (public or private) that team members can create for different teams, projects, conversations, and more.
  • Voice calls: Users can hop on a synchronous voice call or “huddle” right inside Slack.
  • File sharing: Slack allows users to upload files to share with team members or connect to cloud storage apps for file sharing.
  • Integrations: Find silly integrations like Giphy, team/community building integrations like BirthdayBot, or work-based integrations like Jira or Asana.

Pricing

Slack has a free plan with limited storage and saved messages. Pro plans start at $6.67 per user per month (billed annually) to view all message history and access even more premium features.

Why people love it

By now most people have used or heard of Slack, meaning they can easily jump right in and start communicating. It’s a tool to house the back and forth that usually takes place over email, helping teams get closer to inbox nirvana.

5. Mattermost

Mattermost

Mattermost is an open source collaboration tool for developers. It’s ideal for anyone needing customization or who is concerned about their teams’ and conversations’ privacy.

This means your team can download the app and host it on your own servers. When talking about sensitive topics like new apps, tools, and other developments, many developers don’t want to risk holding conversations on a third-party server.

Core features

  • Self-hosting capabilities: The main feature and selling point for Mattermost is the ability to host your team communication within your own company.
  • Customizable: Because it’s an open source tool, your own developers can go in and play with the code to customize it however you see fit.
  • Project planning: Use Mattermost for team communication as well as project planning.

Pricing

Mattermost has a completely free option, but if you want them to host it for you, it’s $149 per year. Paid plans start at $10 per user per month, and enterprise plans are available for businesses who need a customized plan.

Why people love it

The ability to shape your team communication tool to fit your specific needs is excellent. Plus, you can keep all your conversations private (important for compliance reasons in some industries).

6. Asana

Asana
Image source

Asana is another project management tool that has communication and team collaboration aspects to it. Asana keeps track of projects, tasks, and task owners. You can quickly see at a glance where projects stand and expand dropdowns to see tasks and sub-tasks. 

You can also add automations in Asana to streamline workflows, like notifying team members when a task they’re waiting on is complete.

Direct communication takes place in the form of comments on specific tasks or on the overall project. Asana is a useful tool for projects with many steps and collaborators, and to keep a record of task-specific messages. 

Core features

  • Multiple project views: View a project board, list of tasks, calendar of when items are due, and more.
  • Team messaging: Send messages and tag collaborators within each project to get further clarification, ask questions, or send suggestions.
  • Automation: Create rules and block tasks to create an automated process that notifies team members when it’s their turn to hop on a project.

Pricing

Asana comes with a free plan for small businesses and individuals just getting started with project management. As your projects get more involved, you may want to upgrade to their premium plan, starting at $10.99 per user per month (billed annually).

Why people love it

Asana is a versatile and in-depth project management tool that makes it easy for teams to work together without having to be in the same office—or even the same country. Fans also love the unicorn animation when you tick off tasks on your to-do list.

7. Ryver

Ryver
Image source

Ryver considers itself a team collaboration app, meaning it combines both communication and project planning to try and become the ultimate productivity tool. In particular, Ryver competes with Slack’s chat features, Trello’s project management cards, and Zoom’s video call ability.

Within the tool, you can set up topic forums, team chats, and one-on-ones. Ryver also boasts an in-app calling feature for synchronous team communication.

Fans of Ryer talk a lot about its price point for larger teams. Because they offer packages with upper user limits, larger teams that fall under the upper limit umbrella find it to be cost effective. 

Core features

  • Custom channels: Create forums for all-team access, private group chats, or one-on-one conversations.
  • Tasks: Add and assign tasks that team members need to complete.
  • Voice and video chat: Hop on a call to flesh out details on a project or have a deeper discussion.

Pricing

Ryver doesn’t offer a free plan, though they do have a 14-day free trial to test the tool out before making a commitment. As we mentioned, they offer packages based on a user limit, rather than paying per user.

So, for example, their Starter plan is $49 per month for up to 12 users, scaling to unlimited users for $99 per month.

Why people love it

If your team is already using both Slack, Trello, and Zoom, Ryver is a more affordable replacement. They even call out their competitors on their website, making it easy to see where they excel in comparison.

8. Chanty

Chanty
Image source

Chanty is another team collaboration tool that combines both communication and project planning functionality. Teams can send instant messages, make video calls, or create and assign tasks.

Fans of Chanty love their Teambook in particular, which is a central hub of tasks. It’s a great app for anyone working with multiple teams that each have their own projects.

Core features

  • Teambook: This is your team space, the hub where all of your message history, tasks, and other content lives.
  • Create tasks from messages: Chanty makes it easy to see a message with a request and immediately turn it into a task on your to-do list.
  • Set roles and privileges: Allow certain managers to have permissions to add new users, delete conversations, and more.
  • Integrations: Connect with other apps so your team can do more inside Chanty without having to leave and open additional windows.

Pricing

Chanty has a free forever plan for teams of up to 10 members, making it perfect for startups and small businesses. After that, their paid plan starts at $3 per user per month (billed annually).

Why people love it

The ability to turn communication into task management helps people stay organized and makes for a seamless workflow.

9. Convo

Convo
Image source

Convo is a great tool for office, hybrid, or remote teams. It helps connect coworkers and unify a company’s entire team, no matter how large or widespread.

Convo is a proponent of asynchronous communication (a sentiment we are fully behind at Yac). They advertise their chat feature as a synchronous, bursty communication tool, and their comment feature as an async tool.

Core features

  • Newsfeed: See a regularly updated feed of you and your team’s activity to make sure you’re always in the know.
  • Annotations: Easily annotate files shared with you to provide feedback right in your communication app.
  • Polls: Engage teammates and make quicker decisions by sharing native polls right in the discussion group.

Pricing

Their Starter plan is free for up to 10 users. After that, their Premium plan starts at around $7 per user per month or around $80 per user per year.

Why people love it

The fact that users get a newsfeed to keep up with company activity is a great way to unite everyone and make them feel like part of the team.

10. Kona

Kona
Image source

Who wouldn’t love an app that positions itself as your “emotional support dog”? Kona is a Slack integration that focuses on company culture and well-being.

It doesn’t take up employees’ valuable time. Checking in is as simple as adding emojis and reacting to questions. The best part is that colleagues can build relationships asynchronously (and don’t have to talk about work).

Core features

  • Red alerts: Offer support where it’s needed straight away with real-time alerts for managers when employees send up smoke signals.
  • Burnout data: See how your team is feeling across the week and catch burnout before it happens.
  • Google Calendar sync: Get the temperature of the team before your next meeting so you can address any concerns or give employees a confidence boost.

Pricing

Kona is free to try and available for immediate download on Slack. 

Why people love it

Burnout is serious. Kona redefines check-ins and builds bridges through a lightweight, heart-warming integration.

11. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a part of Microsoft’s business tools suite and is a video and chat communication tool. It’s largely based around real-time and synchronous communication, like meetings and instant messaging.

Organizations that already use Outlook emails and Microsoft Office like to stick within the same suite of tools. For this reason, many have turned to Microsoft Teams as their communication app of choice.

Core features

  • Instant messaging: Keep text-based messaging organized with the Microsoft Teams communication hub.
  • Video conferencing: Easily jump on video calls with your team right inside Teams.
  • File sharing: Seamless file sharing with Microsoft Office products.

Pricing

Microsoft Teams alone has a completely free option to sign up and start communicating with your team right away. 

To get access to the Microsoft 365 suite, plans start at $5 per user per month (billed annually) for basic tools, or $12.50 per user per month (billed annually) for the full suite.

Why people love it

The ability to access email, communication, content creation, and more, all under the same umbrella brand can be a great team setup—if each tool fits your needs perfectly.

12. WhatsApp Business

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a basic messaging app owned by tech company Meta (formerly Facebook). While many individuals have the phone app just to chat with friends and family, it can be a great option for dispersed teams as well.

Core features

  • Downloadable apps: WhatsApp is available for Android, iOS, and your computer to keep up with communication on-the-go.
  • Voice and video chat: Hop on voice and video calls to have access to more than just text-based messaging.
  • WhatsApp Business: Use WhatsApp’s business version to communicate with customers and handle customer support issues from a familiar interface.

Pricing

WhatsApp is a completely free app, even if you plan to use the Business API.

Why people love it

WhatsApp’s ease and accessibility make it the perfect communication tool for a startup team just starting out. From discussing ideation to pitching for funding, a simple app like this can be the perfect starting point.

13. Zoom

Zoom
Image source

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing tools available, and its visibility skyrocketed due to the pandemic. 

As an easy-to-use synchronous video calling tool, it's no wonder that it has been popular with both individuals and businesses for connecting with friends, family, and colleagues alike.

Core features

  • Video conferencing: This is Zoom’s bread and butter. It includes basic group video calls with up to 100 participants (or up to 1,000 with the Large Meeting add-on).
  • Zoom Phone: Set up a cloud phone system, so your team can easily make phone calls without sharing their personal numbers.
  • Virtual events: Zoom can be a great space for hosting large virtual events like webinars, conferences, and more.

Pricing

Zoom has a completely free version for meetings with up to 100 participants and group meeting limits of 40 minutes. Premium plans start at $14.99 per month per license.

Why people love it

If you need to host the occasional one-off video call, or if you’re planning a major virtual event, Zoom is the perfect tool for you. Its ease of use and wide user base make it a great go-to tool.

14. Google Chat and Google Meet

Google Chat and Google Meet

Just like Microsoft Teams is included within Microsoft’s suite of tools, Google Chat and Google Meet are a part of the Google Workspace. Companies already using Gmail and Google Drive, who don’t want to take on another subscription, can take advantage of these included (albeit basic) features. 

Google Chat is a one-to-one and group messaging service, while Google Meet is the video calling tool.

Core features

  • Instant messaging: Easily send messages right from your Gmail browser window to anyone else on your team, equipped with images, emoji, GIFs, and more.
  • Video: Create and join video calls to further discuss decisions, new projects, and complex topics.

Pricing

Both tools are included in Google Workspace plans starting from $6 per user per month for Business Starter with several tiers all the way up to Enterprise plans.

Why people love it

There’s virtually no barrier to entry—it’s that basic. When you have your Gmail window open, you can easily send a Chat to anyone in your contacts list and they’ll receive a notification so they can get back to you.

15. Treebal

Treebal home page screenshot
Image Source

Treebal is an eco-designed team communication app—yes, that’s possible. Everything behind this app has sustainability in mind, like how messages are deleted after 7 days to save on storage.

Plus, Treebal donates half of its revenue to trusted environmental partners to support global reforestation. 

Core features

  • Leaf rewards: The more you use and share the app, the more the Treebal can do for their environmental efforts. Each team member can win leaves that represent how much they’ve contributed to the initiative.
  • Reduced hardware: The platform is designed to reduce the amount of resources needed to run the app, and maintain materials for longer.
  • End-to-end encryption: Keep your messages private while saving the planet.

Pricing

Treebal is free for the public and available starting at around $2 per user per month for teams of professionals. Treebal donates 100% of the first month’s revenue to various environmental initiatives and 50% of revenue thereafter.

Why people love it

If you are going to communicate with your team via a team communication app, why not help the environment while you do it.

16. Troop Messenger

Troop Messenger
Image source

Troop Messenger is another team communication app that focuses on security first and foremost. With disappearing chats and the ability to self-host, this tool is ideal for mature businesses who rely on privacy.

Core features

  • Remote screen sharing and controlling: Take meetings one step further with remote screen sharing and controlling abilities. This is great for remote IT or simply letting managers have a closer look at your work.
  • Burnout: Have a confidential chat that doesn’t save message history so you know your conversation is completely private and secure.
  • Read receipts: Get acknowledgements that your team has read an important message with read receipts.
  • Respond later: Apply a respond-later tag to conversations that you read but don’t have time to address yet.

Pricing

Troop Messenger doesn’t have any kind of free plan, but they do offer a 30-day trial to test-drive their app. Paid plans start at $25 per user per month.

Why people love it

Troop Messenger has an extensive list of unique features. This tool is meant for established teams that rely on security, and the price point matches. While it’s likely not ideal for every business, there are a lot of security bells and whistles that come with this tool.

17. Trello

Trello
Image source

Trello is a project management tool that allows teams to collaborate on various tasks. With a Kanban board style interface, team members can create cards for projects, assign tasks, and move the card along each list as it progresses.

This is a great tool for people who like to track work visually and who don’t want a steep learning curve. It’s super simple to use and easy to customize. They even give you plenty of templates for different projects to help you get started quickly. 

Trello makes use of text-based comments and emoji reactions to help teams collaborate on projects and individual tasks. You can also upload external videos and add audio links to each card.

Core features

  • Adjust project management views: View projects from the standard Kanban board, switch to calendar view, view as a timeline for project planning, and more.
  • Add project information: Cards can hold checklists, links, attachments, assignments, comments (with emoji reactions), reminders, due dates, and more.
  • No-code automation: Trello has a built-in automation tool, affectionately named “Butler”, that helps teams automate part of their project management.
  • Integrations: Trello boasts a number of integrations with storage, communication, and other tools that your team is already using.

Pricing

Trello has a completely free plan for individuals creating up to 10 different boards. However, if you’re looking to use it for your team, plans start at $5–$10 per user per month (billed annually).

For more premium features, Enterprise plans are available with pricing based on the size of your organization.

Why people love it

As a project management tool, Trello has a very low barrier for entry. A project manager can create a card, describe the task, and assign it to a team member in just a couple of minutes. There’s little to no training needed, meaning teams can dive right into this tool.

Key takeaways

Have you found your perfect team communication app yet? It’s essential to find a tool that works well within your team without requiring too much training or effort to onboard.

If you’re looking for a tool that helps you ensure every synchronous chat you have is meaningful and everything else is async, we recommend you book a demo to learn more about Yac.