Earlier today RelateIQ announced that they were going to be acquired by Salesforce.com for up to $390 million. Now, I haven’t used RelateIQ but I’ve heard from a number of people that their approach to reimagining the CRM into a system focused on relationships is one of the best available, albeit still early. Instead of the standard CRM interface focused on leads, contacts, opportunities, tasks, etc., RelateIQ scans your email server and calendar (Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps) as well as other data sources to build an understanding of what’s going on and then provides automated recommendations (e.g. you should contact X as it’s been Y days since last touch point). Put another way, many people detest CRMs because of all the manual data entry and RelateIQ takes activities already performed and makes sense of them.
Here are a few thoughts on Salesforce.com acquiring RelateIQ:
- CRMs feel clunky and out-dated thereby creating an opportunity for an upstart to capture mindshare around a new type of CRM, and RelateIQ was leading the charge
- Data entry is one of the most cumbersome aspects of a CRM and RelateIQ had already made great progress minimizing data entry
- Salesforce.com wants to create a new X division to experiment with advanced technologies, much like Google X, and RelateIQ is believed to fulfill that function (via VentureBeat)
- Salesforce.com is serious about preventing a next-generation CRM from disrupting them, so much so that they’d pay ~100x run rate for RelateIQ (see speculation from Jason Lemkin on Quora about RelateIQ’s run rate)
- The CRM market still needs a clear #2 player, and with RelateIQ off the market, the chance they earn that spot is greatly diminished (HubSpot is still well-positioned)
Salesforce.com has a done a great job helping other acquired product-lines grow like Pardot and Heroku. I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out with RelateIQ.
What else? What are some other thoughts on Salesforce.com acquiring RelateIQ?