Salesforce.com Reported To Buy GoInstant For $70 Million

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GoInstant made its debut at TechCrunch Disrupt last fall. Today, the browser collaboration startup has reportedly been acquired by Salesforce.com for $70 million, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal. [GoInstant has since confirmed the acquisition.]

GoInstant allows people to surf the web with each other without having to download an extra plugin or software. GoInstant Co-Founder Jevon MacDonald calls it co-browsing.  You can be on a desktop PC, laptop, tablet – really any web-browsing device, share a given URL and initiate a co-browsing session.

With its launch at TechCrunch Disrupt, GoInstant announced it had raised a $1.7 million round of seed funding from Freestyle Capital, Baseline Ventures, Greylock Partners, Social Leverage, Chamath Palihapitya, Ed Sim and Yuri Milner.  Considering the company is reportedly fetching $70 million, that is quite a pay out for a young company with fewer than 20 employees and less than $2 million in funding.

Here’s Jevon MacDonald making his pitch at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield.

The deal is a smart one for Salesforce.com. The web conferencing market is nearing a state of disruption. The software-based solutions such as WebEx are cumbersome to use, heavyweight in comparison to a lightweight software as a service (SaaS) environment like GoInstant.

“Customer experience is currently one of the main battlegrounds that Oracle, SAP, Adobe and Salesforce are competing in,” said Alan Lepofsky, a vice president and principal analyst with Constellation Research. “The purchase as GoInstant helps Salesforce augment their customer experience platform by enabling brands to easily interact with customers in real-time.”

Salesforce.com has been investing in web conferencing solutions.In January 2011, it acquired DimDim, a web conferencing provider. The deal with GoInstant extends its capability to offer fully integrated, real-time social collaboration. It is a natural fit with Chatter, the Salesforce.com activity stream technology. In this respect, the deal helps Salesforce.com in its increasing competition with Microsoft, which acquired Yammer last month for $1.2 billion.

Analyst Krishnan Subramanian added:

“It is part of Salesforce.com’s strategy to usher the social business era. Put together the tech from DimDim, their existing tech and this = #socbiz.”