Today is just jam-packed full of acquisition-shutdowns. Just hours ago, word broke that Yahoo! had acquired both MileWise and GoPollGo, with plans to discontinue both. Next up on the happy-now-sad-users-later train: Clipboard, the bookmarklet-based web clipping service we covered previously here.
According to a notice e-mailed to its users, Clipboard has been acquired by Salesforce and will be shutdown in a bit over a month.
[Disclosure: Clipboard was backed by CrunchFund, the venture capital firm headed by TC founder Michael Arrington. While Mike — nor anyone else involved with CrunchFund — has ever even mentioned Clipboard to me in passing, we try to be transparent about these things.]
While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, we’re hearing that the final figure was in the “double digit millions” — UPDATE: We’re now hearing from a very, very solid source that the purchase price was $12 Million. Leading up to today, the company had raised $2.5M from Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, CrunchFund, SV Angel, Betaworks, DFJ, First Round and others.
Wondering what the heck Clipboard is — or, soon, was? Not unlike Pinterest, Snip.it, or the myriad other web clipping services that popped up around 2010/2011, Clipboard let you highlight things from around the web and “clip” them into a digital storage locker for later perusal. Once in their backend, clipped content could be annotated, shared, or just browsed at a later date. Given the similarities to existing services like Pinterest and Evernote, both with huge traction themselves, Clipboard had yet to find a substantially sized audience for its service.
Prior to the acquisition, the company had grown to around 100,000 users, and was seeing growth rates of 40 percent month-over-month. In January, it reported having reached 1.7 million+ clips since it had opened its private beta, back in October 2011.
The company had some interest in the education space, however. At the beginning of the year, it received a strategic investment from ed-tech company Scientia. But following the Salesforce buyout, the product itself will be shut down and discontinued on June 30th, 2013, so those earlier plans to further develop the product for use in the education space will be discontinued as well.
While the notice itself makes no mention of what’s next for the team, an acquisition FAQ on their site lays it all out: Clipboard founder and CEO Gary Flake will be joining Salesforce as VP of Engineering, and much of the service’s design and engineering team will still be working under his guidance out of Salesforce’s Seattle office.
Clipboard is giving users until the end of June to say goodbye to the service and get their data out through a provided export tool. Come June 30th, that data heads for a server farm in the sky (read: it’s getting destroyed).
The full text of the e-mail:
We have some bittersweet news. We are extremely happy to announce that salesforce.com has signed an agreement to acquire Clipboard, allowing us to pursue our mission of saving and sharing the Web on a much larger scale. But at the same time we’re also sad to see this stage of our adventure come to an end, especially since it means that our relationship with you, our users, will irreversibly change. The Clipboard service at clipboard.com will be discontinued on June 30, 2013.
But we have your backs. If you want it, all of your data will be preserved into a personal archive from which you can view your clips and boards offline. And if you want your clips destroyed, we can handle that as well. All of the details for what comes next are in the FAQ and some more personal reflections are on our blog.
In nearly two years, 140,000 of you created nearly 3 million clips while over a million of you interacted with them. Thank you for joining us on this journey. We will dearly miss seeing all of you on Clipboard, but we hope you’ll support us in the next leg of our journey.
The Clipboard Team
Salesforce.com is expanding its social ad offerings today with a new product called Salesforce Social.com.
Thanks to its acquisition last year of Buddy Media, Salesforce already runs social ad campaigns for a number of major ad companies like GroupM and Omnicom. But today it’s breaking out its ad product into a separate entity that’s distinct from Buddy Media’s social publishing capabilities.
Vice President of Product Marketing Gordon Evans said that even though Salesforce has already run nearly 500,000 social campaigns, “There’s still a problem here — companies are sitting on this incredible customer data in their CRM systems, but they’re not really connected [to their ad campaigns] in a very efficient manner.” He added that companies also lack the ability to take “full advantage of all the information that’s shared on public social networks.”
Salesforce is in a good position to tackle those issues, given its core business as an online CRM system, and its acquisition of social listening service Radian6. Evans gave me a quick demo of the product, and while he said it includes the tools for creating, optimizing and automating ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter “that are necessary for every powerful ad management organization,” what’s new here is the integration with Salesforce CRM and Radian6.
For example, Evans created a test Facebook campaign, and he was able to target that campaign at different customer groups by importing his data from Salesforce. (Facebook started allowing advertisers to target users based on CRM contact information last fall.) He noted that as a company’s CRM data gets updated, the ad targeting is updated, too. So you could launch an online contest, then target ads at people who participated in that contest. As more people signed up, they’d get added to the targeting.
Evans also created a test Twitter campaign, where he looked at Radian6 data showing trending topics and relevant conversations. Using that data, a company could find appropriate topics to target with its ads, and based on that topic, Social.com recommends content to include in the tweet. Evans acknowledged that advertisers could already use social listening data to tailor their ads, but he said they had to do “swivel chair analysis” that required them “to log in to multiple applications to user interfaces.” Now they can do it all in one place.
The big theme here is bringing a variety of Salesforce products together. In doing so, Evans said Salesforce is hoping to tempt its existing CRM and listening customers who are “trying to figure out what their social advertising strategy should be” while also creating a product that works for ad agencies.
Oh, and if you were wondering how Salesforce got such a sweet URL, it reportedly acquired the Social.com domain for $2.6 million a couple of years ago.
Tylr Mobile today announced WorkinBox, a new mobile email inbox for salespeople connected to Salesforce.com.
WorkinBox matches incoming email with CRM data to help sales people prioritize and focus on messages from customers and prospects, access relevant information and files from CRM, and update CRM systems. The technology has two parts:
- A native iOS application and contextual engine with connectors to IMAP and the salesforce API.
- A cloud-based mobile work platform that IT can use to configure the app and add additional data sources, without having to customize.
Salespeople can sort their inbox by opportunity size, and access the information and files they need to resolve customer questions. They can turn messages into actionable tasks, and update salesforce.com as they work. It is designed to help bring value to sales organizations that spend $12 billion a year on CRM systems that don’t get used, especially on the go.
Mobile systems are changing CRM. CiteWorld recently had a story about Bluewolf CEO Eric Berridge who spent a day on the road with Sysco sales people to see how they work. He learned they do not use their CRM apps.
The customers he visited were just as busy. “They all have five minutes, maximum, to deal with him; they’re running a business, they have to deal with cash registers and waiters and deliveries. The notion of this guy using a CRM system in front of the client in the five minutes they have for him is a complete disconnect from how his job works.” The salesman Berridge shadowed told him he was part of the pilot system. “He didn’t turn it on once.”
Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst for Collaboration Software at Constellation Research saids in a prepared statement:
Sales professionals rely heavily on email to engage with prospects, yet there’s critical information about these prospects in a separate CRM system. Switching context between the two is cumbersome, especially on a mobile device. If a single app could bring those two worlds together, providing instant access to the information and actions needed to win a deal, companies will be lining up to use it.
Co-Founder Ryan Nichols said Tylr competes with two types of startups. Mobile sales tools like Crushpath and Doubledutch that he says would be concerning if they tackled the elephant in the room for mobile productivity: the email inbox. He said there are a group of startups tackling mobile email, like Mailbox and TaskBox. ”They’d be concerning if they started connecting their inbox to enterprise apps and targeting specific enterprise roles,” he said.
Tylr has raised more than half of the $1.5M in seed financing it is seeking to build out its mobile work platform and make the app generally available at Dreamforce in November. It has four local employees and one offshore. The company will double its employees by the end of the year.
The company is backed by the Citrix Startup Accelerator, the Alchemist Accelerator, and a group of individual investor/advisors from companies like SAP and salesforce.com.
More effective filters are needed for email. It’s just a question of how much Tylr can be applied to work passively without too much manual intervention.
Gartner Research is reporting mobile CRM apps will grow 500 percent by 2014, another sign of a shifting market that has more to do with work getting done in the cloud more so than from a server behind the firewall.
This is buttressed by Gartner’s news that SaaS providers will represent more than 50 percent of profits in the CRM market by 2016 and the steep decline in PC shipments that Gartner reported yesterday.
Gartner reports there are 200 apps now in app stores. By 2014, there will be 1,200. Mobile apps will come in a variety of flavors, attacking specific aspects of the CRM experience. Gartner, citing a CIO survey of more than 2,000 people, predicts that vendors will need to build mobile apps around their specific strengths.
Gartner also reported that Salesforce.com remains the No. 1 CRM vendor with 26 percent growth and $2.5 billion in revenue last year. In contrast, Gartner states SAP grew 0.1 percent year-on-year and totaled $2.3 billion in CRM revenue.
That is a huge difference but reflects why consulting companies like Deloitte are focusing more on Salesforce for CRM integrations. The money is in hooking up SaaS environments to old-school legacy systems.
The rise of mobile apps comes with a decline in PC shipments. According to Gartner, “worldwide PC shipments totaled 79.2 million units in the first quarter of 2013, an 11.2. percent decline from the first quarter of 2012. Global PC shipments went below 80 million units for the first time since the second quarter of 2009. All regions showed a decrease in shipments, with the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region showing the steepest decline.”
Mobile’s rise also reflects the growing momentum for SaaS.
In 2012, almost 39 percent of the CRM software market revenue was delivered by SaaS. Gartner forecasts the market to increase 42 percent by the end of 2013. During 2016, more than 50 percent of the CRM software revenue will be delivered by SaaS.
But overall, the CRM market is not showing big growth, demonstrating how companies like Salesforce could be disrupted. The overall market is expected to grow just 9.7 percent in 2013.
That relatively small growth reflects how systems of record, such as CRM, are becoming less important in an app-centric economy. That app-centric focus is why Salesforce is making its own big push into mobile and conversely demonstrates why companies like Base CRMare growing so fast with their mobile-centric approach.
Dropbox is renaming Dropbox Teams to better reflect its change in business focus. The move comes in tandem with Dropbox’s new support for single sign on (SSO) and partnerships with Okta and other identity providers.
Dropbox for Business will replace the old name, reflecting the company’s change in focus to be more on larger business customers than teams within organizations.
In particular, this means support for Active Directory (AD), the traditional mechanism companies use to authenticate and manage an employee’s corporate identity. Businesses of any size demand built-in security, and AD has historically served as the standard as it eliminates the user name and password model for SSO.
Dropbox customers will get all the capabilities that come with AD, including setting permissions, revoking access or adding people from the IT admin panel.
As part of the news, Dropbox has pre-integrated with identity management companies: Okta, Ping Identity, OneLogin, Centrify, and Symplified.
Centrify CEO Tom Kemp said that Dropbox is different because of its massive install base and usage.
More and more users are bringing DropBox into work. But corporate IT/security is concerned that sensitive / confidential information is being stored in the cloud without proper security controls and access rights being applied, and they have no visibility into this. If they say no to dropbox, then users will just skirt IT. So having a solution such as Centrify integrate Dropbox with AD means that (a) users can use the solution they are comfortable with in terms of sharing docs etc.; (b) IT can put in the access control and security rights (who can access what) that they require; and (c) IT can leverage an existing mgmt tool / infrastructure they already own (AD) so they can implement this control / visibility without having to learn yet another tool. So Centrify + AD + Dropbox is a win – win for users/consumers and corporate IT.
Each of these identity providers are in a mad dash to bake in their SSO capabilities with big customers. Dropbox has some penetration into the business market, claiming it is in 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies. The company says it counts a customer when it has three or more people using the service. Is that credible? It’s tough to know without breaking down the numbers.
In the background of this is a land grab for the backend, something we are seeing a lot of as companies pull out of their long-time commitments to larger enterprise vendors. Companies like Dropbox eat around the edges of a large organization’s profit margins. The feeding is intensified by the presence of Google, Microsoft, Box and a host of others that want their own piece of the pie.
Perhaps the most interesting contrast comes from Salesforce.com, which last fall launched its own identity service and a competing product it calls Chatterbox, which takes its name from Chatter, the company’s activity-stream platform.
Dropbox is betting its future on consumer and business markets. To reach into the business market, the company has to have a security cornerstone, a must for most business customers, especially those that operate under regulatory and compliance requirements.
Dropbox took the first step toward its business-oriented branding with the launch of its administrative platform. Company executives say they will continue to build out its collaboration features. That will be a must in a market that has more than its share of collaboration providers.