Salesforce.com Scoops Up Dimdim’s Web Conferencing Technology for $31M

1/7/11Follow @wroush

Salesforce.com’s acquisitions binge continues. The San Francisco-based maker of cloud-based customer relationship management tools has added WebEx-like conferencing and collaboration capabilities to its arsenal through the purchase of Lowell, MA-based startup Dimdim.

Announced late Thursday, the acquisition cost Salesforce.com $31 million, net of Dimdim’s cash. Dimdim had raised venture funding from Nexus Venture Partners, Index Ventures, and Draper Richards; co-founders DD Ganguly and Prakash Khot were also investors.

Founded in 2007, Dimdim developed a freemium, open source, fully Web-based conferencing system with features such as Webcam and audio connections for multiple participants, document sharing, whiteboarding, screen sharing, and chat windows. As Ganguly explained in a 2009 interview with Xconomy, the company’s early mission was to show that a cloud-based multimedia conferencing system could be simple and easy to use. Conferencing systems from WebEx (now part of Cisco) and GoToMeeting (a Citrix product) require users to download client programs before joining meetings.

Salesforce.com says it bought Dimdim in order to add real-time communications capabilities to Chatter, an enterprise social networking platform that’s openly modeled after Facebook. In fact, Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff went out of his way in the acquisition announcement to say that the Dimdim acquisition would make Chatter more Facebook-like.

“The acquisition of Dimdim will help salesforce.com deliver to the enterprise the same integrated collaboration and communication experience that made Facebook the world’s most popular Internet site,” Benioff said in the announcement. According to the company, 60,000 Salesforce.com customers have already deployed Chatter, and the expectation is that the addition of real-time conferencing and document-sharing features will further boost adoption.

Dimdim is Salesforce’s third acquisition in less than a month. The company bought Heroku, a San Francisco-based Ruby application platform provider, for $212 million in early December, and announced just before Christmas that it had purchased e-mail reminder service Etacts. Both Heroku and Etacts were alumni of the Y Combinator venture incubator program.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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