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9/30/2009
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Salesforce.com Helps Launch SaaS Company

FinancialForce.com, a startup providing financial and accounting software as a service, is getting a minority investment and on-campus office space from Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com is helping to launch FinancialForce.com, a new company that offers financial software as a service. It's funding the startup with Unit 4 Agresso, the parent company of Coda, which had sold the Coda2Go SaaS through Salesforce.com's on-demand application store.

While Salesforce.com has been positioned as the quiet "minority" investor for Wednesday's launch of FinancialForce.com, leaving Unit 4 Agresso to distribute the details, its investment in the venture appears deep. The new company is co-headquartered from Salesforce.com's offices in San Mateo, Calif., and from an office in Harrogate, England. Salesforce.com will provide the customer support for the startup's core product, also called FinancialForce (formerly Coda2Go).

What's more, FinancialForce will continue to run on Force.com, the catch-all term Salesforce.com uses to describe its hosting data centers and platform technologies, its programming language for writing apps that run on Force.com, and its on-demand app store. The launch of FinancialForce.com shows that in addition to all those things, Salesforce.com is looking to position Force.com as a platform to launch new SaaS companies.

Jeremy Roche, CEO of Coda, has been appointed president and CEO of FinancialForce.com. Salesforce.com executive VP George Hu, Unit 4 Agresso CEO Chris Ouwinga, Unit 4 Agresso CFO Edwin van Leeuwen, and Roche make up its board of directors.

"FinancialForce.com will do for finance and accounting what Salesforce.com has done for CRM," Roche said in a statement. "We are enabling customers of all sizes to choose accounting as part of a broader, integrated cloud computing solution and giving them the power of enterprise accounting without the pain of owning the software themselves."

Roche also described Coda as a "pioneer" of the Force.com platform, and said it worked closely with Salesforce.com on building the financial SaaS. "We believe that having a native solution built on the Force.com platform will give us a significant competitive advantage when selling to Salesforce.com customers and is key to our go-to-market strategy," he said. The product includes general ledger accounting, user-defined budgets, spreadsheet integration, accounts payable and receivable, and invoicing. Pricing starts at $125 per user per month, and customers do not have to be Salesforce.com customers.

The product would compete with on-premise software from Microsoft and Sage, and SaaS offerings from NetSuite and Workday, among others. In response to Wednesday's announcement, Craig Sullivan, VP of international products at NetSuite, claims that Coda2Go hasn't been a particularly popular product on the Force.com platform. "Two years after its launch, Coda2Go has only one customer success story to point to on their Web site," Sullivan said in an e-mail. "However, the announcement does reveal that Salesforce.com acknowledges the future of cloud computing is the integrated business suite that NetSuite pioneered, and Salesforce.com is scrambling to cobble together."


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