Salesforce took a horizontal turn when it bought Quip

Salesforce took a horizontal turn when it bought Quip

Posted 18 seconds ago by Ron Miller (@ron_miller)
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When Salesforce purchased Quip last summer for $750 million, it seemed on its face to be an unusual acquisition for the cloud CRM company. Salesforce tends to go hard for more vertical targets like Demandware, which it purchased for 2.8 billion last June.

In fact, at a press conference this week at Dreamforce, Salesforce president, vice chairman and COO — yes, he has all those titles — said when asked about the company’s acquisition strategy, “We go very hard into vertical markets.” He then used the Demandware purchase as a prime example of this approach.

Quip is the opposite. It’s a productivity app, designed to be mobile first, and which builds in collaboration and communication right at the document level. Quip founder and CEO Bret Taylor said they really wanted to put the communication component front and center when they were first designing the app.


Block has said in the past that when it comes to acquisitions, his company is always looking for better ways to serve the customer — theirs and those of their users. He admits Quip may not seem obvious as a product that serves the customer, but it’s about productivity and that’s something could touch every part of the Salesforce platform.

“Quip is very compelling. Some people think it’s an unorthodox acquisition, but it’s in the context of driving productivity for customers,” he said.

Taylor unsurprisingly agrees. “One way to think about it is that a lot of their products are vertical. Productivity is horizontal. Ours is a separate product and can integrate into all the Salesforce products,” he said.

Some people think [Quip is] an unorthodox acquisition, but it’s in the context of driving productivity for customers.
— Keith Block, Salesforce

There was also a good cultural match and Salesforce liked the Quip team, a point that Block says the company looks at very closely when making acquisition decisions.

When Quip was sold, it came as a bit of a surprise, but Taylor said he and his team saw an opportunity to reach a scale that would have taken years on their own. He points to the scope of the Dreamforce conference as a prime example of the reach of Salesforce. The company boasted that 175 million people registered for the event. It’s doubtful that many showed up, but even so it’s an enormous event and Quip had a big presence here, which wouldn’t have been possible before the acquisition.

The idea of a deeper relationship began shortly after Quip agreed to build a Salesforce Lightning module earlier this year. It didn’t take long for the discussions to advance beyond that and they began to talk about something deeper. It didn’t hurt that Taylor and Salesforce CEO and chairman Marc Benioff have known each other for a long time, and that really helped advance the discussion.

At Dreamforce, Quip announced some direct integrations with Salesforce including (as you would expect) single sign-on and the previously mentioned Lightning module to enable users to link, access and create Quip documents, spreadsheets and task lists inside of Salesforce. Finally, it includes what they are calling “rich mentions.” These are live Salesforce fields that live inside Quip documents, so if you drag closed deal data into your document, it will update automatically each time the deal data info changes in Salesforce.

For those who aren’t interested in Salesforce, Quip is still available as a stand-alone product, and in fact continues to operate as a separate company within the larger entity. But it’s clear that the integrations announced this week at Dreamforce are only the beginning of what we will see in the future, and Quip is very much an important part of the Salesforce product family — even if it might seem like an atypical one.

Featured Image: Bloomberg / Contributor/Getty Images
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  • Quip

    • Founded 2012
    • Overview Quip is a modern word processor that enables you to create beautiful documents on any device — phones, tablets and the desktop. Quip is built for the way people work today — across a variety of devices and distributed around the world. Quip has a simple and elegant interface that combines documents and messages into a single chat-like “thread” of updates, making collaboration immediate and …
    • Location San Francisco, California
    • Categories Collaboration, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Devices
    • Founders Kevin Gibbs
    • Website
    • Full profile for Quip
  • Salesforce

  • Salesforce Ventures

    • Founded 2009
    • Overview Salesforce Ventures invests in the next generation of enterprise technology to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding to accelerate their growth and gain a competitive edge through access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies …
    • Location San Francisco, CA
    • Website
    • Full profile for Salesforce Ventures
  • Bret Taylor

    • Bio Bret Taylor is currently Founder and CEO of [Quip](/company/quip) and was formerly the CTO of [Facebook](/company/facebook). He joined Facebook as the head of platform in August 2009, after serving as the co-founder and CEO of the social network aggregator [FriendFeed](/company/friendfeed). He most recently worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence at [Benchmark Capital](/financial-organization/benchmark-capital), …
    • Full profile for Bret Taylor

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