Cross-platform iCloud rival Fruux plans to keep teams in sync

Managing and synchronizing contacts, calendar entries and tasks across Apple (s:AAPL) devices can be quite easy thanks to services like iCloud and its predecessor MobileMe. But throw Android (s:GOOG) and non-Mac desktops into the mix, and things can get complicated… very complicated.
fruuxA German startup called fruux takes the cross-platform approach, and over the last 15 months it’s picked up almost 100,000 users who want to sync without being tied to a single platform. And now that it’s also acquired a chunk of seed funding, the company’s planning to make a second version that’s more collaboration-friendly.
The original service lets people store their contacts, calendar entries and to-do lists in the cloud and synchronize them with iOS and Android mobile devices, Mac OS X systems and the open-source Thunderbird and Evolution mail clients.
CEO Dominik Tobschall told me on Wednesday that quite a few teams have already been using fruux to run pooled contact lists and calendars — a pretty kludgy way of doing things considering that it’s a service built for one, but apparently it’s good enough for some small agencies and architects.
Now the company has some extra funding (Tobschall won’t say how much, beyond the fact that it’s six figures), it hopes to have that team-friendly second app on the market by the end of 2012.
“Our biggest competitor might be iCloud, but that doesn’t help you if you have more than one user,” Tobschall said. “We’re going more the Dropbox route -– our aim is avoiding vendor lock-in and making it platform-independent, and we hope to offer our first team features within this year.”
Other plans include the addition of developer APIs and integration with more third-party services – fruux uses open standards such as CardDAV and CalDAV.
The funding came from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), which has also put money into the likes of Ezeep and 6wunderkinder, and netSTART Venture.