Salesforce Collects Flake and His Seattle Startup Clipboard

5/9/13Follow @bromano

Clipboard, the Gary Flake-led startup that aimed to give people a way to privately organize their online lives, is being acquired by Salesforce.com and will shutter its service at the end of June.

The “bittersweet news” is disclosed on Clipboard’s website. The acquisition “allow[s] us to pursue our mission of saving and sharing the Web on a much larger scale,” the message reads.

“Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that it was essential to focus on a singular platform for building new capabilities within Salesforce, which is not something that we could do while keeping Clipboard operating,” the company says in a FAQ.

Flake, a Microsoft veteran who left the company in 2010 after leading its Live Labs effort, as well as Clipboard’s “core engineering and design team” is joining San Francisco-based Salesforce, working from its Seattle office. Flake will be VP of engineering.

Gary Flake

Salesforce, the sales software-as-a-service giant, has made moves recently to allow its enterprise customers to reach beyond their companies to collaborate with customers, suppliers, and other third parties. Another example of the “consumerization” of corporate IT, Salesforce Communities can be used to build private social networks for collaboration around individual products and services.

Clipboard amassed 140,000 users during its two-year run. The company—which took a private-by-default approach to user data, as Xconomy explained in this profile of Clipboard last year—says users can request their data on a personal archive that can be used offline, or it will be destroyed.

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, though AllThingsD quotes an unnamed source pegging the deal at $10 million to $20 million. Whatever Salesforce is paying will be divided among what Flake describes in a farewell blog post as “our murderers’ row of investors … Acequia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Atlas Accelerator, Betaworks, Blake Krikorian, Code Holding, CrunchFund, DFJ, First Round Capital, Founders Co-op, Index Ventures, Kevin Johnson, Scientia LTD, SV Angel, Ted Meisel, Tentpole Ventures, Vast Ventures and Vivi Nevo.”

The company raised about $1.4 million in 2011.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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