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Article

Salesforce Buys Assistly

Assistly’s got a year-old SaaS application that lets small and emerging businesses manage customer service in real-time

Salesforce.com late Wednesday said it bought a two-year-old venture-backed start-up called Assistly for $50 million cash net of cash acquired.

However, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington immediately tweeted that the acquisition price is actually $80 million, the $50 million plus another $30 million in deferred payments over two years.

And Salesforce was already invested in the start-up along with Bullpen Capital, Index Ventures, Social Leverage and True Ventures for a total of $5.7 million.

Assistly's got a year-old SaaS application that lets small and emerging businesses manage customer service in real-time by pulling all customer conversations, regardless of channel - Facebook, Twitter, web chats, e-mail, phone - into a single interface.

All employees can join in and engage with customers as needed. Case filters, business rules and workflows are supposed to ensure that all requests are resolved. There are also key metrics and analytics like case volume, interaction volume by channel, response time, service levels and agent performance.

Assistly's already got an app on the Salesforce AppExchange that lets sales and support teams see data like customer contact info and status.

Salesforce said 17,000 companies are currently using its own Service Cloud. Assistly is supposed to let Salesforce reach out to millions more small and emerging companies with an application with instant sign-up, zero-touch on-boarding, and capabilities and pricing scaled to their needs. The US alone, Salesforce mused, has 5.8 million businesses with 99 or fewer employees according to the US Census Bureau.

Companies can choose to pay by the hour. Otherwise it costs $49 per person per month for unlimited use. There's a free starter seat.

As part of the transaction Salesforce said it assumed Assistly's unvested options and will issue restricted stock units to certain Assistly shareholders. The deal is expected to cut Salesforce's full-year earnings by two cents to about $1.28-$1.30 a share. Salesforce swung to a loss in its fiscal second quarter on revenues up 38%.

Back in March Salesforce bought social media monitoring house Radian6 for $325 million in cash and stock.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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