They say there’s not supposed to be much M&A action the week of Christmas, but Salesforce apparently didn’t get the memo, picking up quote-to-cash vendor SteelBrick today for $360 million.
According to the 8-K form Salesforce filed with the SEC, the deal is for $360 million in stock, less the $60 million SteelBrick has in cash, but not including Salesforce’s investment in SteelBrick .
SteelBrick has received $77.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Its most recent round was $48 million just last October, a round that included “substantial participation” from Salesforce Ventures. In reality Salesforce gave SteelBrick a bunch of money to develop and grow, then turned around and bought it.
As I wrote in the October article on the $48 million investment describing SteelBrick’s business:
Quote-to-cash, as the name implies, is the part of the sales cycle that takes over once you have an interested customer. While CRM tools like Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics provide a way to maintain the basic customer record, a service like SteelBrick helps you put together a quote, sign a contract when the customer has decided to buy, and take care of billing once the deal is done.
It’s worth noting that the SteelBrick solution also includes invoicing with Invoice IT, the company SteelBrick purchased in September and renamed SteelBrick Billing. The entire solution is a particularly good fit because SteelBrick is built on the Salesforce App Cloud platform, meaning that it already works smoothly with Salesforce CRM.
It’s interesting that Salesforce chose to buy SteelBrick, which aims for small- to mid-market businesses and passed up Apttus, a similar company that is geared more for enterprise customers. Apttus grabbed a $108 million investment last September, which also included Salesforce Ventures as an investor.
It could be that Salesforce isn’t done shopping.
It’s worth noting that in a conversation with the press at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s massive customer conference last September, I specifically asked a Salesforce executive if the company was interested in the quote-to-cash end of the market and the executive insisted it wasn’t.
Given its massive investment in quote-to-cash, it’s obviously something that interested Salesforce, but not a part of the market to that point it had been willing to develop on its own or bring into the fold as part of the Salesforce product line. The executive insisted that everything Salesforce did had to be in service of the customer. If it was back office, as quote-to-cash is considered, it wasn’t interested. I guess the company changed its mind.