Enterprise software giant Salesforce has been on a buying spree, and in recent years, it has welcomed almost a dozen dashing founders and CEOs into its corporate sanctuary in San Francisco.
Initially focused on customer relationship management (CRM) for sales teams, Salesforce has diversified its suite of tools through its aggressive merger-and-acquisition strategy. Now, it has rebranded itself as a “CRM, cloud, and social enterprise” company, and it counts tech behemoths like Microsoft, SAP and Oracle among its competitors. With the exception of Kieden, which Salesforce picked up in 2006, all these startups were acquired in the past two years. VentureBeat interviewed the former CEOs of the following companies:
- Buddy Media, a social media marketing company / Price: $689 million
- Rypple, a performance monitoring service / Price: A reported $65 million
- Radian6, a social media monitoring company / Price: $326 million
- Heroku, a Ruby on Rails web app provider / Price: $212 million
- Manymoon, a social productivity app / Price: A reported $25-$35 million — now Do.com
- Assistly, a customer service help desk / Price: $50 million — now Desk.com
- Kieden, the link between Google AdWords and CRM / Price: Undisclosed — now Do.com
It must be disconcerting to move from a tiny startup office with flexible work hours and Ping-Pong table to a giant corporation with bureaucracy, chains of command, and thousands of employees. So the founders of Buddy Media and Rypple, among others, offered advice on maintaining startup culture post-acquisition.
Some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom? David Stein, the cofounder of Rypple (now a vice president at Salesforce) told me they maintained the fun by setting up a video game room and organized a daily push-up club (photographic evidence above). Alex Bard, the founder of Assistly (and now CEO of Salesforce’s Desk.com), said that they are maintaining their “quirky mojo” by working on a “break down the cubes” project to turn the office into a company-wide collaborative space without walls.
But it’s not all fun and games at Salesforce! The “broforce” executives have some serious advice on how to shift product focus, negotiate terms, and lay the groundwork with your parent company’s senior executives. Enjoy!