LinkedIn buys PointDrive to boost its social sales platform with sharing

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LinkedIn, the social network for professionals with 430 million users and now on its way to becoming a part of Microsoft, is putting some more firepower into its sales product. The company has acquired PointDrive, a startup that has built a service that lets salespeople share visual content with prospective clients to help seal the deal.

Terms of this deal are not being disclosed. PointDrive was based out of Chicago and had no VC funding disclosed in Crunchbase, but Jordan Buller, a VC at Ringleader Ventures in Chicago, confirmed to me that his firm was the only institutional investor in PointDrive, with the rest its backers angels. He did not say how much the company raised.

The news comes on the heels of LinkedIn sprucing up its Sales Navigator product with new features like a plug-in for Gmail, Salesforce integration and new mobile features. Sales Solutions is not LinkedIn’s biggest business unit (that honor goes to Talent Solutions, aka its recruitment business). But the service, which was built two years ago to help with social selling on LinkedIn, has been highlighted as a part of the company’s potential synergies with Microsoft post- its $26 billion acquisition of the social network.

It seems that LinkedIn found PointDrive as a customer itself.

“From presentations to images, to links and videos, what they’ve created has quickly gained traction with sales professionals in a wide range of industries,” writes David Thacker, a VP of product at LinkedIn, in a blog post announcing the news.

“Our very own global sales organization became a PointDrive customer about a year ago and their product has become one of the most valued tools for our teams.” (Note: He did not comment on whether it was used to in the process of selling LinkedIn itself to Microsoft.)

Sales Navigator today comes in two tiers. A Professional edition is designed for individuals ($80/month) and Team edition for companies ($1200/year before volume discounts).

It’s not clear how and if PointDrive will be priced separately yet. Before the acquisition, it sold in tiers of $25, $40 and $50 per month per user, depending on features like expanded storage, and Salesforce integration.

PointDrive’s app essentially offers users a web page that functions as a common workspace: salespeople can upload content that can be shared with their clients to better illustrate an advertisement or an exciting PowerPoint to show what great ROI they’ll get.

PointDrive competes against other document sharing apps specifically targeting salespeople, such as DocSend; screen sharing services like Join.me; and online presentation platforms like Prezi.

It’s interesting because it points to ways that LinkedIn could potentially expand out its sales services to a wider pool of users beyond the recruitment industry that forms a large part of its customer base, and potentially offers its social selling tools to work across other platforms beyond LinkedIn.

Sales Solutions as of last quarter saw its revenues increase by 55% year-over-year, and now represents 40% of Premium Subscription revenue, LinkedIn said. Last quarter, Premium Subs brought in $149 million in revenue, meaning Sales Solutions brought in just under $60 million to the company.