Hoping to extend its presence in e-commerce, Salesforce has invested millions of dollars in SteelBrick — the cloud software giant's second bet on the fast-growing Configure Price Quote (CPQ) market this week.
SteelBrick said today San Francisco-based Salesforce joined its $18 million Series B funding round, which was led by Shasta Ventures. Emergence Capital and company managers also participated in the round.
SteelBrick CEO Godard Abel told CMSWire the investment shows that Salesforce is moving beyond its traditional customer relationship management (CRM) functions.
The Next Step
"Salesforce has done a great job in the sales cloud in doing the first phase of sales automation in the cloud, and CPQ is a natural next step," he said in an interview.
San Mateo, Calif.-based SteelBrick didn't disclose the amounts invested by each funder, but Abel confirmed Salesforce made a "very significant" investment in the millions of dollars.
A request for comment from Salesforce Ventures went unanswered. But in a statement, Ron Huddleston, senior vice president for parter programs at Salesforce Ventures, said "we think they have a very bright future ahead in the quickly growing CPQ space."
CPQ, also known as quote-to-cash, embraces a range of B2B sales activities such as purchase specifications, bidding, pricing and contracting. It's a field traditionally dominated by big vendors like SAP and Oracle, which have a stronger footprint in enterprise financial systems than Salesforce.
On Monday, Salesforce led a $41 million investment round in Apttus, which makes similar tools for the Salesforce1 platform. Apttus CMO Kamal Ahluwalia said the investment represented a salvo in a platform war between Salesforce and rival services from SAP and Oracle.
Abel agreed there was intense competition between the bigger companies. "Oracle bought my last company, Big Machines, which has similar functionality," he said. "SAP has an Internet Pricing Configurator and we competed with that in the Big Machines space."
He said, however, that once customers decide that sales and marketing is going to be on the Salesforce platform, "we are no longer competing with SAP and Oracle."
Abel said Apttus and SteelBrick are the only two CPQ vendors that have build natively on the Salesforce1 platform and added that the companies appeal to different segments of the B2B market.
"Apttus is focused on large enterprise solutions," he said. "SteelBrick CPQ is a much better fit for the hundreds of thousands of mid-market and smaller companies that represent Salesforce's traditional core market."
Drawing an analogy to the enterprise file sync and share market, he said Apttus is more like Box, which historically focused on businesses,while SteelBrick is more like Dropbox, which grew with a consumer focus.