Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Salesforce to Acquire “Co-Browsing” Start-Up GoInstant for $76M in Cash

Salesforce is to acquire small technology start-up GoInstant. The deal is worth $76 million in cash, and will be announced after the close of markets today. It was first reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier in the day, and I’ve confirmed it with my own sources.

Update: Here’s the announcement.

Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, GoInstant had raised just $1.7 million in seed funding from backers including Freestyle Capital, Baseline Ventures and Greylock Partners. Founded in 2010, the company launched last September, and had 14 employees.

GoInstant makes a tool that allows people to remotely and jointly view and manipulate the same Web page. The idea is to make the process of browsing the Web a shared — and even social — experience.

But this isn’t another free social app. GoInstant was pitching itself as a WebEx alternative that doesn’t require any additional software beyond the browser. It sells a premium product to customers like Joyent and Formspring to help them give sales demonstrations and support their own customers.

The GoInstant product is built to be speedy and responsive, using new Web application tools like Node.js. It’s accessible on mobile, and works between different browsers.

GoInstant will continue to operate out of Halifax. It isn’t Salesforce’s first Canadian outpost. In 2011, Salesforce paid $326 million for Radian6, which remains headquartered in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Salesforce has bought lots of other social enterprise companies the past year; most recently an offering was $745 million for Buddy Media, in a deal expected to close in October.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik