Salesforce Buys HeyWire to Help Businesses Reach Customers Via SMS

Salesforce has made another Boston-area acquisition, scooping up HeyWire in a deal that underscores the growing importance of mobile messaging among the ways that businesses communicate with customers.

The deal’s terms weren’t disclosed, but it’s surely much smaller than the $2.8 billion that San Francisco-based Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) paid earlier this year for Burlington, MA-based e-commerce software firm Demandware. That was the cloud business software giant’s largest acquisition to date. HeyWire had raised at least $30 million from investors before the acquisition.

For HeyWire, it’s the end of an era. The Cambridge, MA-based company got started in 1999 as Integra5 and was initially known for software that helped cable, phone, and wireless companies provide unified data services across devices such as PCs, TVs, and phones.

In 2009, Integra5 rebranded as MediaFriends as it shifted toward mobile apps around messaging, social media, and interacting with video content. The company eventually became known as HeyWire, the name of its popular international texting and social app that became profitable in 2012.

HeyWire was initially geared mainly toward consumers, brands, and advertisers, but as Xconomy reported in 2012, the platform could also be used by enterprises interested in boosting their messaging capabilities. HeyWire has since shifted to focus primarily on text messaging for businesses that want to engage more easily with consumers, who increasingly use texting as their preferred mode of communication. Call center workers and sales employees use HeyWire’s product, for example.

HeyWire’s text-messaging apps were already able to integrate directly with Salesforce’s customer relationship management system. The acquisition takes that partnership a step further.

The HeyWire team, including CEO and co-founder Meredith Flynn-Ripley, will join Salesforce after the transaction closes, she wrote in a blog post announcing the deal Wednesday.

“This is an exciting time for the customer service industry,” Flynn-Ripley (pictured above) wrote. “We’re in the midst of the largest disruption in the space since the creation of the 1-800 number, as we witness mobile messaging emerge as the new and preferred platform for service and support communication, transforming customer experience and improving business productivity at the same time.”

An e-mail message to Flynn-Ripley requesting comment was referred to a Salesforce spokeswoman, who said the companies are not commenting on the acquisition beyond what’s in the blog post.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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