Salesforce has acquired the software company Unity&Variety in a move designed to improve the design chops at its productivity app service Quip. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Unity&Variety was founded in 2015 by Facebook veterans Drew Hamlin, Joey Flynn, and Andy Chung and had released at least one app publicly: Pinchworm. The game received high ratings in the App Store, but since then, the company claimed that it was “cranking on some new productivity tools.”
When reached for comment, Quip CEO Bret Taylor declined to cite what was next on the product roadmap, but did say that his time working with Hamlin and Flynn at Facebook and their creative thinking greatly impacted his decision to acquire their company. Unity&Variety’s design resume appears to be impressive in that the team was responsible for the experiences with Facebook Home, News Feed, and a bevy of other features on the social network.
— Bret Taylor (@btaylor) January 13, 2017
It’s this thinking and design possibilities that Taylor thinks will be beneficial to Quip. If you’ve never used Quip, it’s a single app where you can produce documents and spreadsheets a la Google Docs and Sheets, but with a minimalist style. The main part of the service is a News Feed-like offering, which will likely get a boost through the Unity&Variety team.
“They are some of the most amazing product designers I worked with,” Taylor remarked. He went on to say that the team will work on Quip and bring their design expertise in-house to work on not only the core product, but also additional offerings. “I hope this brings a new design sensibility to our product.”
In a way, today’s acquisition is designed to shake up the design process at Quip. Taylor admitted that he hopes Hamlin and Flynn will reinvigorate the creative passions in the company to not only impact the tools, but his company, resulting in a transformed Quip experience. While Taylor declined to share details about the latest developments at Quip, he revealed that some updates were going to be announced next month.
This is the first announced acquisition by Salesforce this year, continuing a spree started last year that included the purchase of Taylor’s company in August.