Enterprise collaboration software provider Slack is investing $80 million in startups that build software that integrates with Slack

Slack officials blogged this week that the fund will "support and encourage developers to build apps that interact with Slack." The fund is backed by investors Accel, Andreessen-Horowitz, Index Ventures, KPCB, Spark and Social Capital. The goal is to "fund both 'Slack-first' apps as well as B2B and enterprise tools that make Slack integrations a core part of their offering,” officials wrote. 

“We expect our portfolio to feature a diverse array of entrepreneurs working on solving problems for teams in every industry, function and corner of the world. We’ll measure the success of the Slack Fund in the quality and adoption of the apps built by Slack Fund companies and by the overall investment we see in the Slack ecosystem.”

Slack officials also announced a new Slack App Directory, which includes more than 160 apps that can extend the capabilities of a Slack team, sorted into curated lists by category, popularity and staff favorites.

“No matter what kind of team you’re on, we have apps ready to make your team more productive,” Slack officials wrote. 

The company also launched of a new framework for Slack development, Botkit, created by Howdy. According to Slack officials, it greatly simplifies the creation of apps (especially bots) with a flexible codebase that handles things like authenticating apps to a team and the sending, receiving and processing of messages with Slack’s API.

Insite's New Story

B2B e-commerce provider Insite Software just acquired a sales enablement and digital content delivery provider. 

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based company acquired Storyworks1, a Minnesota neighbor based in nearby Minnetonka. The partnership will enable next-generation buyer/seller experiences to help B2B companies better meet specific buyer needs and provide strategic direction on product requirements — all while leveraging existing technology investments, company officials claimed.

“The combination of Insite Software and Storyworks1 will enable our customers to leverage both commerce and content/data to help drive both online and offline sales,” Tony Abena, CEO of Insite Software, said. “By connecting data in core business systems — ERP and CRM — sellers can use the most effective and efficient sales channels to sell the right products to the right customers at the right time. We call this connected commerce.”

Insite Software is one of Forrester’s leaders in its B2B e-commerce Wave report. Company officials said the business has experienced more than 50 percent annualized product revenue growth in the past two years.

The Storyworks1 platform syncs and updates digital sales content in real time. It includes updated, in-depth analytics.

Press for PR Provider

UBM, the British business-events organizer, is selling New York City-based PR Newswire to Chicago-based Cision for $841 million.

PR Newswire is a news-release distribution service. Cision, a provider of public-relations software and analytics, owns the Gorkana Group, PR Web and iContact. 

"Bringing Cision and PR Newswire together will enable communicators to turn data into actionable insights — the necessary link between communications and business outcomes," Peter Granat, Cision CEO, said in a statement. "We are serious about building a comprehensive platform to help our clients manage the entire lifecycle of communications — from influencer discovery and content distribution to engagement and campaign analysis."

Robert Gray, CEO of PR Newswire, said PR Newswire helps enterprises “maximize the impacts of their communications programs through best-in-class solutions and the combination with Cision would further enhance that capability.”

Hello, Blue Jeans

Former Citrix executive Mike Mansbach has been appointed president of Blue Jeans Network. He will be charged with leading the company through a "massive" growth phase."

Learning Opportunities

blue jeans network president mike mansbach

Mansbach said video collaboration provider Blue Jeans, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a perfect fit because:

  • Video is "eating the world," and Blue Jeans has 5,000 customers and 25 percent of Fortune 100
  • Blue Jeans puts the customer first with innovative and intuitive platform and apps that power visual communications for Facebook, Sephora, The Wharton School, TED, The Sundance Film Festival and more

Cash Boost for Full Circle

San Mateo, Calif.-based Full Circle Insights, which produces marketing performance management solutions, announced a Series B funding round of $4.7 million. The money will provide additional resources to expand the company’s sales and marketing initiatives and support customer success with new products and services. 

Aligned Partners led the round with participation from Salesforce Ventures.

Managing Partner Jodi Sherman Jahic of Aligned Partners described Full Circle Insights as "a resourceful, efficiently managed company with a proven value proposition."

The Mobile Imperative

Customers are drawn to mobile devices by "speed and convenience," according to Stockholm-based digital experience provider Episerver

Episerver just issued a new report that assessed the mobile commerce strengths of the top 20 retailers that target US shoppers. Nearly half — 46 percent — of US consumers cited speed and convenience as the reasons they browse products on a mobile device rather than on a PC or in a brick and mortar store.

The Mobile Commerce Report 2015 study also found 63 percent will abandon a mobile site if it proves difficult to access. And 22 percent of respondents claim that if a mobile site doesn’t work they will go straight to a competitor.

“Retailers must take a mobile-first approach to commerce, with consumers increasingly shunning their laptops and home computers to shop on smartphones and tablets instead,” Bob Egner, vice president of product marketing for Episerver, said in a statement. 

“Our research underscores that to deliver on a seamless, integrated omnichannel approach, marketers must align user experience with device capabilities. They should look to create unified experiences across all platforms, but must play to the specific strengths of each device or platform.”

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  Title image by Bichuas (E. Carton)

fa-solid fa-hand-paper Learn how you can join our contributor community.