Salesforce.com Acquires Big Data CRM Startup RelateIQ (Which Was Trying To Eat Its Lunch)


Salesforce.com has acquired RelateIQ, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that has been touting its big data-infused software as the next generation of customer relationship management.

Salesforce.com is paying $350 million for RelateIQ, which sells a "relationship intelligence platform" that gathers and analyzes data from salespeople's interactions with contacts, including email, calendars and smartphone calls. It then uses this data to provide insights that can help deals move faster.

RelateIQ's software supports Office 365, Exchange 2013, Exchange 2010 and Google Apps. It also works with Facebook to let users add photos and verify contact information.

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RelateIQ has positioned itself as a competitor to Salesforce.com, so the San Francisco cloud giant is eliminating a potential future annoyance by acquiring it.

"Salesforce.com pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, redefining modern CRM as we know it. As you know, RelateIQ is pioneering the next generation of intelligent computing through data science and machine learning," Steve Loughlin, RelateIQ co-founder and CEO, said in a blog post Friday.

In a FAQ on its website, RelateIQ said a key strength of the technology is that it works almost entirely without human interaction.

"One of the great things about RelateIQ is the platform’s ability to capture and analyze activity data automatically as you carry on your typical day-to-day tasks, including sending and reading emails, scheduling calendar events, and making phone calls. Even if you have a teammate who only gets as far as connecting his or her accounts, your entire team will still see value added in the platform automatically and in real time," RelateIQ said in the FAQ.

Once the deal closes, RelateIQ will become an independent subsidiary of Salesforce.com, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. Re/code first reported on the deal Friday.

RelateIQ, founded in 2011, has raised $69 million to date, including a Series C round in March with participation from AITV, Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Felicis Ventures and News Corp. The startup has $40 million in cash remaining from these investments, according to the SEC filing.

PUBLISHED JULY 11, 2014

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